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NT police arrest three people who escaped from Howard Springs Covid quarantine facility

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Glenn Campbell/AAP</span>
Photograph: Glenn Campbell/AAP

Northern Territory Police have arrested three people who escaped from Darwin’s Howard Springs Covid-19 facility earlier this morning.

All three tested negative for Covid on Tuesday and have now been taken into custody.

Earlier, police said the trio allegedly jumped the fence at the Centre for National Resilience just before 4.40am.

“Police and staff at the Centre for National Resilience are currently confirming the absconder’s identities prior to releasing further information,” police said.

Related: Beyond the ‘gold standard’ cliches, inside the Howard Springs quarantine facility I find shelter | Chips Mackinolty

Howard Springs is a large, open-air facility that is being used to quarantine Australians returning from overseas. It is also housing a number of residents from Katherine and surrounding areas, where an outbreak of Covid-19 erupted last month.

The alleged escape comes a day after a returned traveller tested positive for the Omicron variant in the facility and the territory continues to fight Covid outbreaks in remote communities.

The NT health minister, Natasha Fyles, confirmed on Tuesday that a man in his 30s had been diagnosed with the new variant.

He arrived in Darwin on a repatriation flight from South Africa last week and his positive virus result was confirmed on Friday.

“I can confirm today that the genomic sequencing has shown that the man does have the Omicron variant of Covid-19,” Fyles said. “So [it is] the first case for the Northern Territory.”

The territory recorded no new cases overnight . “We have negative wastewater results right across Katherine, which is very pleasing, including Bicentennial Road which … we’ve been closely watching,” Fyles said.

As of Tuesday, there were 58 cases of Covid-19 in the NT.

International arrivals on repatriation flights are required to quarantine at Howard Springs for 14 days. Travellers who arrive on standard international flights into Darwin airport are permitted to quarantine for seven days at their homes or another suitable location.

A 27-year-old man allegedly absconded from quarantine last week before being found on Darwin’s main strip.

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