Australian police arrest quarantine escapees
| News Today | News Today
Australian police have arrested three people who escaped from a Covid quarantine complex in the middle of the night.
The Howard Springs center near Darwin in the Northern Territory is one of Australia’s main quarantine facilities for returnees.
Police said the trio climbed a fence to exit the facility.
Officers found them after a manhunt on Wednesday. All had tested negative for Covid the day before.
Authorities did not say whether the escapees were returning travelers or residents in quarantine.
In recent days, the center has also hosted people infected with a Covid outbreak in Katherine, a town 300 km (185 miles) away.
Police had set up checkpoints around the complex on Wednesday and inspected cars circulating in the area.
Last Friday, a 27-year-old man jumped over the fences of the center and fled in a waiting car towards downtown Darwin. He was then arrested and tested negative for Covid-19.
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Up to 2,000 people can be detained at the Howard Springs site. It is a former mining camp that was turned into a quarantine center by the Australian government last August.
A case of the Omicron variant has been confirmed there – a traveler from South Africa who arrived on November 25. Cases of Omicron have also been detected in Sydney.
Australia has delayed reopening its international borders until mid-December, due to concerns over the variant. Early evidence suggests he has an increased risk of re-infection.
The country also imposed new restrictions blocking travel from nine southern African countries.
Australians have spent 20 months under some of the toughest border rules in the world, in a bid to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Some restrictions were relaxed last month. It is not yet known whether the new variant will force them to be re-taxed.
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