A US marine has been taken to hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine in Darwin.
- The 21-year-old is asymptomatic but has been taken to Royal Darwin Hospital
- He recently arrived in the Northern Territory as part of the MRF-D training exercise
- About 2,200 participating personnel are expected to arrive in Darwin by June
The 21-year-old recently arrived in Australia as part of the 2021 Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) — a training exercise that will see about 2,200 personnel rotate through Darwin by June.
Health authorities say the man was among the first group of about 200 marines to arrive, with soldiers touching down in Darwin on Thursday before entering quarantine at RAAF Base Darwin.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has previously said a comprehensive COVID-19 risk management plan for the cohort has been approved by the NT Chief Health Officer, and the personnel are required to return negative coronavirus tests before boarding their flights to Australia.
A spokeswoman from NT Health said the man had no close contacts.
He is asymptomatic but will remain at the Royal Darwin Hospital until he recovers.
“Due to strict quarantine measures in place for all arriving marines, this case of COVID-19 was promptly detected and the marine had no direct contact with the general community,” NT Health authorities said in a statement.
In a statement about the MRF-D exercise released earlier this month, Ms Reynolds said infection-control measures in place also included COVID-19 testing on arrival in Australia and upon exit from quarantine, as well as general health monitoring.
While the first two groups of marines will undertake their fortnight of quarantine in accommodation on Defence bases, further groups will be taken to Bladin Village, a privately owned former detention centre outside of Darwin.
Ms Reynolds has said leasing that facility means the marines’ arrival will not impact Australians being repatriated to Darwin from overseas.
More groups of between 200 and 500 US military personnel are due to arrive in the coming months, with the next lot due in March.
One hundred and four cases of coronavirus have now been diagnosed in the Northern Territory, the majority of them related to international travel.