2021 Marine Rotational Force – Darwin – positive result for COVID-19 during initial screening

Department of Defence

On 14 April, a US Marine who arrived in Australia as part of the 2021 Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) returned a positive result for COVID-19 during initial screening at the commencement of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The Marine was transferred to the NT Centre for National Resilience where they underwent confirmatory testing. They will continue to be monitored at at the Centre and complete their quarantine there.

Due to the strict procedures put in place before the arrival of this year’s MRF-D rotation, the Marine had no direct contact with the general community. Close contacts of the Marine have been isolated as a precaution in accordance with the COVID-19 management plan agreed to with Northern Territory authorities.

All US Marines are subject to strict screening and quarantine requirements prior to departure and on arrival into Australia. These include:

• presenting a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours before departure for Australia.

• mandatory 14-day quarantine in secure facilities at RAAF Base Darwin and Bladin Village.

• COVID-19 testing on arrival and before exiting their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

• daily checks that include screening for COVID-19 symptoms and mental health checks.

So far, approximately 1400 US Marines have arrived in Australia as part of this year’s MRF-D rotation. The next tranche of approximately 300 US Marines arrived today.

Defence is liaising closely with the Northern Territory Government on this matter following the extensive planning that occurred to enable a safe 2021 rotation. Defence and NT Health have agreed to strict measures for managing MRF-D’s arrival, quarantine and possible or positive cases of COVID-19. The 2021 MRF-D will continue to adhere to all current Northern Territory restrictions for mitigating COVID-19 risks. This year’s rotation includes a comprehensive range of training activities, including humanitarian assistance, security operations and high-end live-fire exercises.

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