Dozens of passengers travelling to the Northern Territory on The Ghan have been forced off after it was discovered they visited “high-risk” Covid-19 locations in Victoria.
Thirty-two guests from Greater Melbourne that boarded the train on Wednesday returned to Marla, in South Australia’s northwest near the NT border, on Thursday afternoon and were ushered onto a bus.
Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions — that runs the service — confirmed to NCA NewsWire that the coach was on its way to Adelaide and travellers would be accommodated overnight.
The company said effected guests on the Ghan Expedition line that disembarked in Alice Springs as well as those on the Indian Pacific that will arrive in Adelaide will also have overnight accommodation.
“Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions is currently working with state government authorities and effected guests as a result of the developing COVID-19 situation in Victoria and subsequent border restrictions,” a Journey Beyond spokesman said.
“Our priority is to ensure the safety and welfare of our guests and crew while complying with state government mandates.
“We appreciate our guests’ experience have been significantly impacted through no fault of their own, or ours, and we are working to help manage their individual circumstances as best as possible.”
SA chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said she was aware of the incident and had spoken to her counterpart in the Top End.
“There are a number of people on The Ghan who have been at high-risk exposure sites and my understanding was that they would quarantine in Alice Springs,” she said.
“My team has been working through the rest of the passengers … SA Health have that under control.”
Both central jurisdictions imposed border restrictions with Victoria as the state continues to record more locally acquired cases.
As of 6pm Wednesday, anyone who has been to Greater Melbourne is no longer permitted to enter SA, with essential travellers and returning residents able to come home but must complete two weeks of self-isolation.
The NT has a hotspot direction in place which came into effect at midnight on Thursday, meaning anyone who has been to Greater Melbourne or Bendigo must complete 14 days of isolation at their own expense of $2500.