Large number of quarantine hotels ditched by NT government
MORE than two dozen hotels and inns used for coronavirus quarantine purposes were taken off the NT government's books once the Territory moved to the hot spot model in July.
The NT News can reveal 26 accommodation providers, spread across the Territory, were paid a collective $7.09m in mid-November for rendering COVID-19 housing and food-related services.
When asked if those contracts were for contingency purposes, Territory Families, in a single line response to questions from the NT News, said those contracts had ceased on July 17, the date the NT moved to its hot spot border control model.
A Territory Families spokeswoman said from that point the NT's quarantine facilities were to be at the Alice Springs and Howard Springs quarantine facilities, with a combined capacity of 2639 rooms.
"Once this was enacted all arrangements with hotels ceased," she said.
This comes after government quarantine arrangements were overwhelmed in Alice Springs on Tuesday night into yesterday morning, following an influx of people from South Australia. Health Minister Natasha Fyles, praising frontline workers for working through the night to deal with the issue, also partly blamed private hotel operators for reneging on emergency agreements.
"I'd like to thank those hotels that did at very short notice work with our frontline staff to provide those rooms, but it was disappointing to see some hotels that had previously agreed to that did not provide rooms," she said.
As of yesterday afternoon, a total of 71 people had been transferred from quarantine facilities in Alice Springs to the Howard Springs facility near Darwin.
The NT government also confirmed, as a result of the system in Alice Springs being overwhelmed, that 137 people had been allowed to undertake quarantine at their own homes. Frontline workers were still manually processing paperwork yesterday following the government's decision to remove regional South Australia as a coronavirus hot spot.
As at 5pm yesterday, 10 people had been allowed to leave Howard Springs, while three people had been allowed to leave the Alice Springs quarantine facility.
Originally published as Large number of quarantine hotels ditched by NT government