COVID-19 Update 10 July 2020

Travel restrictions and quarantine rules for the Northern Territory will change on 17 July 2020. This email provides information about the rules right now, as well as what will change on 17 July.


Anyone travelling into the Northern Territory from interstate up to and including 16 July 2020 must complete mandatory self-quarantine.

What is mandatory self-quarantine?

Self-quarantine is when people undertake a 14 day quarantine period in their own home, in private accommodation, or in appropriate commercial accommodation at their own cost.

For further details, see the Self-quarantine Guidelines.

Are there any restrictions on where people can self-quarantine?

Yes. In the East Arnhem region, the only place interstate travellers may quarantine is the town of Nhulunbuy.

Other places within the Territory where travellers may undertake self-quarantine include Darwin, Palmerston, Litchfield (except Litchfield National Park and Dundee Beach), Katherine, Tenant Creek and Alice Springs.

 What forms do people need to complete if they are entering the Territory?

Anyone entering the Northern Territory must complete a pre-arrival border crossing application, which can be done online in around 10 minutes.

 Is it possible to be exempt from mandatory self-quarantine?

A person may apply for an exemption self-quarantine if they are in an exempt category. Please note that these applications can take some weeks to process.

No exemptions will be issued for people travelling from hotspots. All exemptions from self-quarantine for people who have travelled from hotspots have been revoked. People intending to travel to the Territory from a hotspot are strongly urged to reconsider their plans.

What about travel within the East Arnhem region?

Permits are required for all Balanda who want to enter onto Aboriginal land – and outside of Nhulunbuy, the entire East Arnhem region is Aboriginal land. As part of protecting East Arnhem communities, there are restrictions in place on who will be issued a permit by the Northern Land Council to enter Aboriginal land to limit unnecessary travel and reduce the risk of introduction of COVID-19 into the region.

Over the last few weeks, there have been some changes to the reasons for which a Northern Land Council permit may be issued:

  • Work related permit applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Individual recreation permit applications will not be considered except where:
    • It is a tourist permit related to visiting the region where the person has a booking at a relevant tourism operator (e.g. campground or other accommodation booking)
    • It is a permit to access sea country for the purposes of recreational fishing
  • All permit applications must be accompanied by a COVID-19 travel and health declaration.

Further information about permits from the Northern Land Council is available on its website, including application forms for permits and travel declarations.


On 17 July, the Territory will lift interstate border restrictions, however restrictions will still apply to people travelling from areas declared as ‘hotspots’ – they will be required to complete mandatory supervised quarantine.

What is a ‘hotspot’?

To prevent people who have travelled from high risk areas entering the Northern Territory, the Chief Health Officer can declare the area a hotspot.  As at 8 July 2020, the entire State of Victoria has been declared as a hotspot, and will remain so indefinitely.

Other areas might be declared to as hotspots in the future.

What will people travelling from hotspots need to do from 17 July?

People intending to travel to the Territory from a hotspot are strongly urged to reconsider their plans.

If people from a hotspot do enter the Northern Territory, they will need to complete 14 days of mandatory supervised quarantine at their own expense.

What is mandatory supervised quarantine?

Mandatory supervised quarantine will be at the Howard Springs quarantine facility, or another approved facility elsewhere in the Northern Territory. People in mandatory supervised quarantine will be charged a fee of $2,500 per person.

People in supervised quarantine will be subject to testing before exiting quarantine. If they refuse a test, they will be required to quarantine for a further 10 days (at an extra cost).

What forms will people need to complete if they are entering the Territory from 17 July?

Regardless of where they are coming from – even if they are not coming from a hotspot – everyone entering the Northern Territory must complete a pre-arrival border crossing application, which may be done online in around 10 minutes.

Can anyone be exempt from mandatory supervised quarantine?

No. There is no process to apply for an exemption from mandatory supervised quarantine for people travelling from hotspots.


While this information is current at the time of sending, the most up to date information and advice about the Northern Territory’s response to COVID-19 is available at and national health information is available at

Public information materials available in Yolngu Matha

ARDS Aboriginal Corporation recently launched a webpage dedicated to providing public information on COVID-19 in Yolngu Matha, including resources on health advice and rules about travelling to and around Arnhem Land.

A range of other materials Yolngu Matha have also been produced by Skinny Fish, Why Warriors, Miwatj Health and Laynhapuy Health and are available on the AMSANT website. The NLC also has a range of information available in Yolngu Matha.

East Arnhem Covid 19 Team

Coronavirus Hotline 1800 020 080

NT Police Compliance Number 131 444