Several hundred foreign military personnel and, in some cases, their families, are to be quarantined in the Northern Territory when they arrive this month to participate in joint activities with the Australian Defence Force.
In all, up to 250 personnel will be entering the country to take part in training activities with the Australian Defence College, which provides professional military education and training.
ADF will handle all Covid health arrangements
The countries which are sending personnel have not been identified, although it is believed most are from the Indo-Pacific region, and their quarantine and health-screening arrangements will be controlled by the ADF rather than the civilian authorities that handle quarantine arrangements for ordinary Australian or foreign arrivals.
“It’s a couple of a hundred defence personnel from around the world in a standalone facility; the whole facility is being used by Defence,” Natasha Fyles, Minister for Health in the Northern Territory, said.
“They will come through in various stages throughout the month of January. And [the Department of] Defence will provide security.
Part of regular international training program
“We have thoroughly been through [all arrangements] with Defence and international authorities, and we are comfortable with the arrangement that has been put in place,” she stated.
According to the ADF, those who are arriving in the NT are part of a regular international training program for foreign military partners.
“All foreign military officials and any dependants will arrive into Darwin and undertake quarantine before continuing on to their ultimate posting locations in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria,” the ADF said.
US Marine tested positive in the NT last year
Last year a contingent of around 1,100 US Marines were quarantined in the NT when they arrived as part of a regular training rotation to work with Australian service personnel. One of the Marines subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 while in quarantine.
The troops were also tested a second time for the virus before they left Australia in late 2020.
The arrival of foreign military personnel and their families does not affect international arrival caps for returning Australians, the ADF said.