The first case of COVID-19 recorded in Kimberley region after international worker from offshore rig tests positive, leading to the self-isolation of 24 "non-essential personnel" in a Broome resort.
Rangi Hirini

24 Mar 2020 - 3:45 PM  UPDATED 24 Mar 2020 - 3:49 PM

Twenty-four drill rig workers are currently self-isolating at a resort in Broome, following the positive testing of a fellow employee for COVID-19 at an off-shore site, 220 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia.

Japanese oil and gas giant INPEX has transferred the Maersk Deliverer workers - deemed "non essential" to operations – to the Kimberley town following one of their former colleagues testing positive to the coronavirus. 

According to ABC News, a contractor, who recently had been working at the offshore Maersk Deliverer drilling rig, fell ill and subsequently tested positive to the virus after he had returned to his home country – believed to be Croatia - on March 19.

Inpex said none of the exposed "non-essential personnel" have shown any symptoms and the company is taking the matter "very seriously" and will continue to monitor the situation closely. 

On Monday night, Inpex spokesman Bill Townsend confirmed the workers were being transferred onshore to go into self-isolation as "a precautionary measure". 

"Where self-isolation takes place is being finalised. Our preference is to enable people to self-isolate at their home location," he said.

"Our priority is the health and well-being of the people who work with us and the safe operation of our facilities."

Last week, the WA government introduced the Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions which restricts access in and out of remote Aboriginal communities. 

Currently, the restrictions do not apply to Broome, as it is technically not classified as a remote community. 

The Kimberley region has a Indigenous population, many of whom suffer from serious health conditions which increases their chances of contracting coronavirus. 

- More to come.

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