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Remote work and travel

Vaccination, testing and mask requirements

In line with the CHO Direction for mandatory vaccination, all people entering a remote community in the NT for the purpose of work must have their first dose by 12 November and their second dose by 24 December 2021.

From 19 November 2021, any person travelling from Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs or outside the Territory who enters a low-vaccination-rate remote community (with a first dose vaccination rate of people aged 16 and over under 70%) will be required to receive a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test taken within the 72 hours before entry.

Communities with a low vaccination rate

Remote communities are considered to be low vaccination if they have a first dose vaccination rate below 70% for people aged 16 years and over.

The mask mandate and testing requirements apply to all communities with a low vaccination rate.

Remote community vaccination data is available

For additional vaccination data

Any non-residents wanting to go into a remote community must still follow all the requirements of land councils and local communities, including checking if you need a land council permit to go there.

  • Mandatory mask wearing

    The Chief Health Officer Direction (PDF) requires any worker or resident entering a remote community, with a first dose vaccination rate below 70%, from Greater Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs or interstate, to wear a mask at all times for seven days when in public.

    Mask requirements include:

    • A mask must be work by all people aged 12 years and over
    • You must wear a mask if you have been in Greater Darwin, Katherine or Alice Springs in the past 14 days and outside the Territory
    • A mask must be worn for seven days while in the community
    • A mask must be worn when the person is outside of their residence and you are unable to physically distance 1.5m from others who do not live with you.

    You do not have to wear a mask:

    • If you are under the age of 12 years or attending primary school
    • When eating or drinking
    • While exercising or playing sport
    • If you are a teacher, educator or child care worker undertaking teaching or child care activities
    • If you are alone in a vehicle
    • If you are communicating with a person that is hearing impaired
    • If you have a physical or mental health illness or disability that makes wearing a face mask unsuitable

    Examples:

    • If a teacher travels from Kalkaringi to Katherine, they will be required to wear a mask for seven  days when they return to Kalkaringi.
    • A tradesperson who travels from Alice Springs to Papunya will be required to wear a mask for seven days upon entry.
    • A person travelling from Queensland to Galiwinku will be required to wear a mask for seven days upon entry.
    • A person travelling from Tennant Creek to Ali Curung will not be required to wear a mask upon entry.
    • A person travelling from Wilowra to Yuendemu will not be required to wear a mask upon entry.

    Information on wearing masks

  • When do I have to wear a mask?

    The Chief Health Officer Direction requires any worker or resident entering a remote community, with a first dose vaccination rate below 70%, from Greater Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs or interstate, to wear a mask at all times for seven days when in public.

    The Direction applies to any person aged 12 years and over who has been in the following areas within the past 14 days:

    Local Government Areas

    • Munipality of Katherine
    • Town of Alice Springs
    • City of Darwin
    • City of Palmerston
    • Litchfield
    • Wagait Shire
    • Belyuen Shire
    • Darwin Waterfront
    • Charles Darwin National Park and East Arm

    Localities:

    • Berrimah
    • Northcrest
    • the unincorporated Elrundie area
    • Dundee Beach
    • Dundee Forrest
    • Bynoe
    • Charlotte
    • Cox peninsula

    Any place outside of the Northern Territory.

    What are the mask requirements?

    Mask requirements include:

    • A mask must be work by all people aged 12 years and over
    • You must wear a mask if you have been in Greater Darwin, Katherine or Alice Springs in the past 14 days or outside the Territory
    • A mask must be worn for seven days while in the community
    • A mask must be worn when the person is outside of their residence and you are unable to physically distance 1.5m from others who do not live with you.

    You do not have to wear a mask:

    • If you are under the age of 12 years or attending primary school
    • When eating or drinking
    • While exercising or playing sport
    • If you are a teacher, educator or child care worker undertaking teaching or child care activities
    • If you are alone in a vehicle
    • If you are communicating with a person that is hearing impaired
    • If you have a physical or mental health illness or disability that makes wearing a face mask unsuitable

    Which remote communities have a low vaccination rate?

    Remote communities are considered to be low vaccination if they have a first dose vaccination rate below 70%.

    The mask mandate applies to all communities with a low vaccination rate.

    Remote community vaccination data can be accessed is available at https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/stay-safe/low-vaccinated-communities

    Do I have to wear a mask for seven days even if I leave the remote community after three days?

    You have to wear a face mask for seven days if you travel from Greater Darwin, Katherine or Alice Springs or outside the Territory to a remote community with a low vaccination rate.

    If you leave the remote community before this time, you will no longer be required to wear a mask.

    What if I travel to multiple remote communities?

    You have to wear a face mask for seven days if you travel from Greater Darwin, Katherine or Alice Springs to a remote community with a low vaccination rate.

    If you travel to two or three remote communities with a low vaccination rate you will need to wear a mask at all of these communities.

    If you travel from a low vaccinated remote community to another community with a first dose vaccination rate above 70% you will not have to wear a mask in that community.

    Travelling through a low vaccinated community in or on a  vehicle

    If you remain in or on the vehicle and you travel directly through the community, you do not need to wear a mask.  If you leave the vehicle for any reason you must wear a mask in that community.

    Why do I need to wear a mask?

    Face masks provide an extra layer of protection and are proven to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, particularly when physical distancing can’t be applied.

    Doherty Institute modelling highlights that stronger public health and social measures are required in remote communities, where there is not sufficient vaccination coverage.

    As a result, the Chief Health Officer has introduced mandatory mask wearing in remote communities with a first dose vaccination rate of 70% for those people aged 16 years and over.

    For more information on wearing masks visit: coronavirus.nt.gov.au/stay-safe/slow-spread/information-about-face-masks

    Read below for information about the regional requirements for visitors and workers.

    • Northern Land Council, Central Land Council and Anindilyakwa Land Council
    • Tiwi region
  • All people entering a Northern Territory remote community with a first dose COVID-19 vaccination rate below 70% from Greater Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs or interstate, are required to get a Rapid Antigen Test up to 72 hours prior to entering.

    View a list of low vaccinated remote communities.

    This website is constantly updated as vaccination rates increase, so please check regularly.

    NT Rapid Antigen Testing and Distribution Points

    A number of NT Rapid Antigen Testing and Distribution Points have been established to assist people to get their test.

    Testing officers will be on site to provide support for people who have questions about the test, provide assistance for people to complete the test and to interpret results.

    Rapid Antigen Test kits can also be collected from these locations so that they can be completed at home or work.

    Alice Springs

    The Pandemic Coordination Centre:

    • Location: 44 Bath Street Alice Springs
    • Open: 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday
    • Open: 10am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday
    • Walk-in only.

    Greater Darwin

    Marrara Drive-Thru – Appointments required

    Opening hours:

    • Monday – Sunday 10am to  6pm

    Address: CDU Netball Stadium, Abala Road, Marrara.

    When attending the drive-through testing sites, please ensure:

    • you wear a mask
    • stay in your car
    • bring photo ID
    • bring your Medicare card

    If arriving in a taxi or rideshare vehicle, be sure to sit in the back, with the windows down and a mask on.

    The following are not permitted:

    • trucks
    • bicycles
    • walk-ins.

    There is a car height limit of 2.5 metres.

    •  

    Katherine

    Due the current COVID-19 outbreak, Katherine is in lockdown and residents are not allowed to leave the area unless you are an essential worker. If you need to leave the area to travel to a low-vaccinated remote community, you will need to have a PCR test and receive a negative result before travelling.

    You can book to get your COVID-19 test online.

    PCR tests can also be completed before entering a remote community with a low vaccination rate. Results take about 24 hours to be returned.

    You cannot get a Rapid Antigen Test from the Alice Springs Respiratory Clinic or Drive-Through testing sites.

    Test Results

    Following completion of the Rapid Antigen Test at a NT Testing Site you will receive information about your results within 20 minutes.

    Negative test: Following completion of the Rapid Antigen Test at a NT testing site you will be sent a copy of your result via SMS or receive a printed copy of the result. This can be used to show proof of your test.

    Positive test: If you receive a positive test result, the testing officer will contact NT Health as further testing will be required to verify the result. NT Health will also provide advice on the next steps.

    Frequent travellers to remote communities

    Workers that frequently travel to remote communities, can book-in to receive a weekly PCR COVID-19 test. The benefit of a weekly PCR test is that you will only have to get tested once per week.

    COVID-19 tests can be booked online.

    Following a negative PCR test, you will receive an SMS with your result. This can be used as proof of your test.

    If the result is positive, you will be contacted by NT Health and they will advise of the next steps.

    Rapid Antigen Testing at home or work

    Businesses, workers or community members can collect Rapid Antigen Tests for free from NT distribution centres. Supplies will be provided for immediate use only. Large supplies for future use will not be provided.

    Businesses and industry can also purchase their own supply of tests.

    Rapid Antigen Tests approved for supply in Australia by the Therapeutic Good Association (TGA) can be used in the NT. These are listed on the tga.gov.au website

    If undertaking a Rapid Antigen Test at home, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Guide to performing a Rapid Antigen Test PDF (227.8 KB)

    What to do once you get your Rapid Antigen Tests results

    If your result is positive (two lines):

    • immediately self-isolate
    • call the NT COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 490 484.

    If your result is negative (one line):

    For proof of your negative test:

    • take a photo of your test, showing the date and time the photo was taken.
  • What is a Rapid Antigen test and how does it work?

    Rapid antigen tests can pick up the COVID-19 virus very early in the infection, sometimes before symptoms appear.

    Individuals can show no symptoms but still carry the COVID-19 virus and transmit it to others. Rapid Antigen Tests can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent an outbreak as they provide results quickly.

    Rapid Antigen Testing requires taking a nasal swab and placing it into a chemical solution. The result will display on a testing pad within 15 to 20 minutes.

    How accurate are the results?

    Rapid Antigen Tests will detect most cases of COVID-19 but are not as accurate as the gold standard PCR test.

    Where can I get a Rapid Antigen Test?

    You can get a Rapid Antigen Test at the following locations:

    • Alice Springs
      • The Pandemic Coordination Centre
        • Location: 44 Bath Street, Alice Springs
        • Open: 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday
        • Open: 10am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday
        • Walk-in only.
    • Greater Darwin

        Marrara Drive-Thru – Appointments required

        Opening hours:

        • Monday – Sunday 10am to  6pm

        Address: CDU Netball Stadium, Abala Road, Marrara.

        When attending the drive-through testing sites, please ensure:

        • you wear a mask
        • stay in your car
        • bring photo ID
        • bring your Medicare card

        If arriving in a taxi or rideshare vehicle, be sure to sit in the back, with the windows down and a mask on.

        The following are not permitted:

        • trucks
        • bicycles
        • walk-ins.

        There is a car height limit of 2.5 metres.

    • Katherine
      Due the current COVID-19 outbreak, Katherine is in lockdown and residents are not allowed to leave the area unless you are an essential worker. If you need to leave the area to travel to a low-vaccinated remote community, you will need to have a PCR test and receive a negative result before travelling.

      You can book to get your COVID-19 test online.

      PCR tests can also be completed before entering a remote community with a low vaccination rate. Results take about 24 hours to be returned.

      You cannot get a Rapid Antigen Test from the Alice Springs Respiratory Clinic or Drive-Through testing sites.

    Can I purchase my own Rapid Antigen Testing kit?

    Businesses, workers and community members can collect Rapid Antigen Tests from NT distribution centres for free. Supplies will be provided for immediate use only. Large supplies for future use will not be provided.

    Businesses and industry can also purchase their own supply of tests. Rapid Antigen Tests approved for supply in Australia by the Therapeutic Good Association (TGA) can be used in the NT. These are listed on the tga.gov.au website.

    How do I perform a Rapid Antigen test at home or work?

    You must complete your Rapid Antigen Test as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Your results will be available 15 to 20 minutes after completion.

    If undertaking a Rapid Antigen test at home, please follow the manufacturer instructions.

    Guide to performing a Rapid Antigen Test PDF (227.8 KB)

    What do I do when I receive my Rapid Antigen Test results?

    If your result is positive:

    • immediately isolate
    • call the NT COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 490 484.

    If your result is negative:

    For proof of your negative test:

    • take a photo of your test, showing the date and time the photo was taken.

    Can children receive a Rapid Antigen Test?

    Yes. It is recommended children receive a Rapid Antigen Test at a NT Testing Site. If the test is going to be done at home, adults should assist children to complete the test or provide supervision. See the manufacturer’s guide provided with the test for any safety instructions on testing children.

    I live in a remote community, when do I have to get a Rapid Antigen Test?

    If you live in a remote community with a low vaccination rate and you travel to Alice Springs, Katherine, Greater Darwin or interstate, you will need to get a Rapid Antigen Test within 72 hours before returning to your community.

    If I live in a remote community, do I need to get a test before travelling to a remote community with a low vaccination rate below 70%?

    There is no requirement to get a Rapid Antigen Test if you are travelling from one community to another, even if the community you are visiting has a low vaccination rate.

    You are only required to get a Rapid Antigen Test if you have been in Greater Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs or interstate and then travel to a community with a low vaccination rate.

    Example: A person travelling from Tennant Creek to Ali Curung will not be required to have a Rapid Antigen Test before entering.  

    I’m a tradesman who frequently travels to remote communities. Do I need to get a Rapid Antigen Test?

    You will need to get a Rapid Antigen Test if you are travelling to a remote community with a low vaccination rate and are coming from Greater Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs or interstate.

    If you frequent remote communities regularly, you may choose to have a weekly PCR test instead. This test can be conducted at any of our COVID-19 testing sites.

    Book your appointment online.

    Where can I find which communities are classed as low vaccination communities?  

    A list of NT communities with a low vaccination rate.

    This website page is constantly updated as vaccination rates increase, so please check regularly.

    Why has this measure been implemented?

    This new measure has been put in place to protect our vulnerable populations and remote communities with low COVID-19 vaccination rates.

    Doherty Institute modelling has found that the transmission potential of COVID-19 in Aboriginal communities, particularly in remote areas, remains higher than for the general population.

    This is due to a greater proportion of large households, a younger population, the highly interconnected nature of these communities, and the higher prevalence of disease.

    The modelling highlights that stronger public health and social measures will be required in remote communities, where there is not sufficient vaccination coverage.

  • Non-residents must have permission from the relevant land council to go into their communities for any reason, including work.

    You should check with the relevant land council to make sure you have the right kind of permission to go into their community or Aboriginal land.

    Find out more at the NLC website, CLC website or  ALC website .

  • Persons wanting to access Aboriginal Land in the Tiwi Islands outside of the listed townships, and who do not meet the requirements of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, must apply for a permit from the Tiwi Land Council.

    Find out more at the Tiwi Land Council