The minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, says he is worried about low vaccination rates in remote communities after a cluster of Covid-19 cases connected to a goldmine in the Northern Territory increased to seven on Monday.
Darwin and surrounding areas have been put into lockdown until 1pm on Friday amid concerns about the significant risk posed to Indigenous communities.
Wyatt told the ABC on Monday there was significant vaccine hesitancy in some communities. â€œI donâ€™t want to see any deaths within our communities,â€ he said.
The minister pointed to a remote community near the Tanami mine, where only 18 people out of 400 had been vaccinated, with residents concerned about what they were reading on social media about the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Covid-19 alerts to be integrated into Facebook
Facebook will allow state and federal governments, police, and health departments in each state and territory to send local alerts about Covid-related issues to users from Tuesday.
Similar to the local alerts already in place for fire and emergency services last year, people who follow a state health department or police serviceâ€™s page on Facebook will be alerted to Covid outbreaks and other Covid-related information through Facebook.
The agencies will be able to target followers based on location, so if there is a localised outbreak in a specific suburb, they will be able to drop a pin and alert followers who are located within a specified radius of that pin.
When they rolled out the feature in the US, pages that sent posts marked as local alerts received 250% more views on average than other posts.
Josh Machin, Facebookâ€™s head of public policy in Australia, said:
We hope this feature will be another important communication tool for health, police and central government agencies to share updates to people about critical events happening in their local area. For example, with Covid-19 breakouts in different places around the country, Local Alerts could be used to advise communities about recent outbreaks, travel restrictions or lockdowns areas, and other requirements as situations develop and evolve.