NACCHO International #CoronaVirus News Alert No 37 : Based on the @UN4Indigenous Declaration of Indigenous Peoples Rights and on @WHO messages, The @FAOIndigenous Peoples Unit makes 12 #COVID_19 recommendations:

Indigenous peoples live in both urban and rural locals and account today for over 476 million individuals spread across 90 countries in the world, accounting for 6.2% of the global population.

Nonetheless, our communities are nearly 3 times as likely to be living in extreme poverty, and thus more prone to infectious diseases.

Many indigenous communities are already suffering from malnutrition and immune-suppressive conditions, which can increase susceptibility to infectious diseases.

The extent of the devastating nature and potential of COVID-19 is uncertain.

 Member States must protect the most vulnerable in our global society.

I urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that indigenous peoples are informed, protected and prioritized during the COVID-19 global health pandemic.”


Read Download full press release HERE.


 ” The global reach of the COVID-19 virus affects us all, but some groups will suffer disproportionately and in different ways. Indigenous peoples are such a group.

Many indigenous peoples live in remote regions difficult to access and often inaccessible.

Even prior to this crisis, they experienced higher rates of health risks, poorer health and greater unmet needs in respect of health care than their non-indigenous counterparts. Indigenous peoples were already disadvantaged in terms of access to quality health care and were more vulnerable to numerous health problems, in particular pandemics.

The social determinants of health, such as safe drinking water and a sufficient, balanced diet, and sanitation were not fulfilled before this crisis.

Moreover, the expropriation of indigenous lands and natural resources and the increase in conflicts on their territories were already placing indigenous peoples in a particularly precarious situation ” 

See how NACCHO protects our mob Corona Virus Home Page

Read all 37 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Coronas Virus Alerts HERE

Read more see part 2 below 

For example see this recent report 

The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic could have serious effects on indigenous peoples’ wellbeing, livelihoods and health.

FAO urges governments, academia, NGOs, international community and indigenous peoples authorities to take specific measures that ensure the respect to indigenous peoples’ rights during the pandemic and that includes an intercultural approach when dealing with the emergency, safety and health aspects of the response.

Based on the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples Rights and on WHO messages, The FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit makes the following recommendations:

  1. Under the right of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination, FAO encourages Governments to include indigenous peoples’ representatives, leaders and traditional authorities in emergency and health response committees or any entity dedicated to the COVID 19 pandemic, both during the outbreak as well as in the aftermath.
  2. FAO urges the global, regional and national health instances to provide contention information and audiovisual materials to indigenous peoples and to support their translation and dissemination in indigenous languages.
  3. Local indigenous communities often do not have full command of mainstream languages. To avoid communication breakdowns that will spread the disease, all main hygiene, quarantine and contention messages should be shared with the traditional leaders and youth leaders and translated into local indigenous languages.
  4.  Involve indigenous youth in the dissemination of COVID-19 messages within the communities both in mainstream languages as well as in local indigenous languages, their command of social media makes them a fundamental player in this situation.
  5. FAO urges health entities to include in their response an intercultural approach that takes into consideration traditional indigenous health care takers, training them in all the relevant contention measures and use of equipment to stop the spreading of the virus.
  6. FAO requests Governments and health organizations to include indigenous peoples´ communities among the receivers of contention material such as masks, gloves, disinfectant and other contention materials.
  7.  FAO urges Governments to include indigenous peoples in their countries as recipients of health assistance like any other citizen of the country, including them among the population share that is tested for possible positive COVID-19 cases.
  8. FAO calls to not implement any policy, programme or intervention that affects indigenous peoples without obtaining previously their Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
  9.  The right of Indigenous Peoples to be or remain in Voluntary Isolation must be respected
  10. Several Indigenous Peoples communities have self-imposed quarantine and have established controls to limit access to their communities. These mechanisms should be respected and reinforced whenever requested.
  11. FAO urges Governments to intensify protection measures to stop external farmers, settlers, private firms, industries and miners from entering indigenous peoples´ territories taking advantage of the present crisis.
  12. FAO has always been urging governments to stop any planned or ongoing evictions of indigenous peoples. Its call is renewed and heightened given the context of the health emergency for COVID-19.

FAO is in contact with indigenous organizations to provide assistance by sharing information about prevention and contention of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit is ready to assist countries in their efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on indigenous peoples and to support the implementation of measures that previously discussed and agreed with indigenous peoples.

Part 2 Continued

The spread of COVID -19 has and will continue to exacerbate an already critical situation for many indigenous peoples: a situation where inequalities and discrimination already abound.

The rise in national recessions and the real possibility of a world depression are set to aggravate the situation further, bringing fear that many indigenous peoples will die, not only from the virus itself but also from conflicts and violence, linked to the scarcity of resources, especially drinking water and food.

Yet there is still time to limit this health crisis and its disastrous effects. Urgent action has demonstrated that appropriate measures taken early on in the crisis can drastically reduce and control the transmission of this disease.

We call on all States to fulfil their human rights obligations, guided by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to protect the health and lives of indigenous peoples. In following WHO advice, we urge you to ensure that indigenous peoples become your partners in this endeavour, and that you provide culturally acceptable healthcare, as well as food or other humanitarian relief, when necessary, and without discrimination.

States should acknowledge and accommodate the cultural, spiritual, and religious rights and responsibilities of indigenous peoples when considering measures to respond to the virus. As with the adoption of any measures that may affect indigenous peoples, their free, prior and informed consent, grounded in the right to self-determination, should be sought.

Many indigenous peoples are invisible in our societies but they should not be forgotten, they may even warrant special attention. Indigenous peoples in refugee or internally displaced camps, detention centres or institutions, migrants in administrative settings, have a higher risk of contracting the disease. For older indigenous persons this virus may be fatal, and indigenous migrants and individuals in urban areas, are often already living in precarious environments.

Probably the most vulnerable of indigenous peoples are those living in voluntary isolation or initial contact given their particular vulnerability to disease. It is imperative that sanitary cordons preventing outsiders from entering their territories are strictly controlled to avoid any contact.

In order to limit the spread of Covid-19, several communities of indigenous peoples have taken the initiative to put in place containment measures and controls at the entrance to their territories. We welcome these initiatives and call on States to respect and support them.

All indigenous peoples will require timely and accurate information on all aspects of the pandemic, in their indigenous languages, and in culturally sensitive formats.

The requirement to remain in quarantine will also require measures taken by the State, in partnership with indigenous peoples, to control entry by non-indigenous peoples or non-essential health care workers onto indigenous land. Such measures should also mitigate against encroachment upon indigenous land by opportunists, or invaders such as illegal loggers and miners.

We also urge States to make a firm commitment to avoid: removal of indigenous peoples from their lands; diminishing indigenous lands; and using indigenous lands for military activity, especially for the duration of this pandemic. In short, territorial protection will be a vital component of States’ efforts to protect indigenous peoples from the spread of the disease and contribute to their recovery after this crisis.

We advise all States and UN agencies to take on board our advice herein, guided by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as guidance provided by the OHCHR

(, and FAO (


The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) is a subsidiary body of the Human Rights Council mandated to provide the Council with expertise and advice on the rights of indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and assist Member States, upon request, in achieving the ends of the Declaration through the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the rights of indigenous peoples.
For further information see the following


NACCHO Aboriginal #CoronaVirus News Alert No 35 : April 9 #KeepOurMobSafe : #OurJobProtectOurMob Warning #CoronaVirus will not be taking a holiday over Easter , neither should you mob ! #StayHome

1.How to celebrate and share Easter during the coronavirus outbreak?

2.Minister Ken Wyatt meets with peaks to secure the essentials for our remote communities.

3.Responding to COVID-19 outbreak in Indigenous communities will be a major challenge, health workers say .

4.Health services in remote and rural communities, particularly for the most vulnerable elderly and First Nations groups, will be stretched to the limit by COVID-19 outbreaks

5.VIDEO : Maningrida kids remind everyone to stay safe from coronavirus!

6.Download Remote Area Travel restrictions update 7 April Frequently Asked Questions

7.VAHS Promotes new New coronavirus Self-Assessment tool 

8.VIDEO : Take Heart is proud to have partnered with the Wadeye community to produce this important health message about how to protect individuals, families and communities from the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

9. VIDEO : Preventing CoronaVirus : Little J has an important message for youjarjums about washing your hands. 

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share. Features Dr Ngiare Brown’s tips to stay active

See how NACCHO protects our mob Corona Virus Home Page

Read all 35 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Coronas Virus Alerts HERE

1.How to celebrate and share Easter during the coronavirus outbreak?

As the Easter holiday is coming up, it is important to remember that we must adjust our celebrations during the coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus affects us all, and it will affect the way we celebrate.

Remember only one person can visit a household at any time, and only two people can meet in public. Always keep 2 big steps away from other people.

There are other ways to celebrate Easter together.

  • This is not a time to travel.
  • Stay connected with your family, friends and community via phone or the internet.
  • Have Easter lunch with your loved ones via video calls
  • Have an Easter Egg Hunt with your household or children, hide chocolates in your house, backyard or garden
  • Drop off eggs or a special meal to someone
  • Leave a note so they know you are thinking of them
  • Search online for Easter egg hunt computer games or Easter quizzes

2. Minister Ken Wyatt meets with peaks to secure the essentials for our remote communities

The Australian Government is working in close collaboration with states and territories under the National Cabinet mechanism to coordinate responses in a range of sectors. Groceries and food security is one of the priority groups under this mechanism.

Communities can help:

  • We need community support to make sure we don’t run out of supplies.
  • Please don’t panic buy or stock up on groceries more than normal.
  • Deliveries will continue and there will be enough groceries for everyone if we each only buy what we need

READ full press release HERE

3. Responding to COVID-19 outbreak in Indigenous communities will be a major challenge, health workers :

The impact of the coronavirus on Australia’s Indigenous communities is potentially catastrophic.

Scores of vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are in lockdown as health workers prepare for the arrival of COVID-19 in a population where substandard and overcrowded housing and complex health issues are common.


  • Brenda Garstone, CEO, Yura Yungi Medical Service,
  • Sarah Brown, CEO, Western Desert Dialysis
  • Christine Corby, CEO, Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service

Listen HEAR

4. Health services in remote and rural communities, particularly for the most vulnerable elderly and First Nations groups, will be stretched to the limit by COVID-19 outbreaks

How do we avoid stigmatising and discriminating against rural patients, particularly those who are immune compromised or have co-morbidities or chronic conditions?

How do we scale up home care, clinic care and hospital care scaling up for more cases when funding and training have separately focused on either the clinic or the hospital.”

 There are urgent needs stimulated by this crisis that can improve all systems.

Professor Worley says questions also surround rural patients feeling isolated from the national coronavirus response.

Read / Download the full press release

5. VIDEO : Maningrida kids remind everyone to stay safe from coronavirus!

Watch Video HERE

6.Download Remote Area Travel restrictions update 7 April Frequently Asked Questions

Download FAQs HERE

FAQs – Amended Remote Travel Restrictions

7.VAHS Promotes new New coronavirus Self-Assessment tool 

Victorian Department of Health & Human Services

Self Assessment link;

This self-assessment goes for 2 mins max.

It will determine if you need testing or hospital treatment.

8. VIDEO : Take Heart is proud to have partnered with the Wadeye community to produce this important health message about how to protect individuals, families and communities from the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This video is part of a series of Coronavirus health messages produced in close collaboration with a group of top end communities.

This effort has been made possible thanks to the leadership of the Wadeye community, particularly around the elimination of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD).

Please share widely. To download visit:

9. VIDEO : Preventing CoronaVirus : Little J has an important message for youjarjums about washing your hands 

Watch Here

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share.

NACCHO has developed some COVID-19 specific graphics to help promote healthy messaging to help STOP the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in our communities.

Plus we have links to all our affiliate resources

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share.

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share.

Dr Ngiare Brown’s tips to stay active

Dr Ngiare Brown, a proud Yuin nation woman, mother, and community member from the South Coast of New South Wales shares ways to keep our mob safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Ngiare says, being stuck in one place can be challenging, but there’s a lot of ways to stay active.

· Know we are helping to keep all of our community, our Elders and our children safe and well

· Read, learn and practice a language, our own language

· Dance

· Play board games

· Challenge your family members to physical activities and creative ways to get 10,000 steps done inside

· Make sure you keep your brains and your bodies active

“In my day to day work as a doctor, I usually travel to see children and adolescents in their communities,” says Dr Ngiare.

“Because of the coronavirus, I’ve had to change the way I do my work in order to keep my mob safe, but also still see the children that need us, so we’re using video links and telemedicine to do consultations and chat to children and their families.

We are a resourceful people and we have lots of other ways of doing our usual work.”

10.Gallery of COVID-19 on social media images to share.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Communities #CoronaVirus News Alerts March 13- 16 : Contributions from our CEO Pat Turner, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Dr Mark Wenitong, Dr Norman Swan and Marion Scrymgour

In this special Corona Virus edition

1.Pat Turner NACCHO Appearance on The Drum

2.Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s press conference

3.Department of Health download videos

4.Dr Norman Swan

5.DR Mark Wenitong

6.Marion Scrymgour CEO NLC

Read all previous Aboriginal Health and Corona Virus articles published by NACCHO since January

1.Pat Turner NACCHO Appearance on The Drum

Pat Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), warned tonight that if the novel coronavirus gets into Aboriginal communities, “it will be absolute devastation without a doubt”.

In particular, she urged state and local governments to lift their games, but acknowledged that some local governments, like those in Alice Springs and Halls Creek, were acting.

Turner also called for action to address “the national disgrace” of inadequate Aboriginal housing given the implications for infection control, and for screening of communities in vulnerable areas, stating that the docking of a cruise ship in Broome today had caught health authorities unawares.

The ACCHO sector had been working very hard to get out information to communities and clinics, but needed the Government to fund their services at a realistic level, she told ABC TV’s The Drum program.” 

Urgent calls for more resources to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from COVID-19 From Croakey Read HERE in full 

Watch the full episode of The Drum on IView (Available till 20 March )

2.Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s press conference

 “Today, I now want to move to the decisions that we have taken that were consistent with the plan that I’ve outlined to you.

First of all, the National Security Committee met before the National Cabinet today and we resolved to do the following things; to help stay ahead of this curve we will impose a universal precautionary self-isolation requirement on all international arrivals to Australia, and that is effective from midnight tonight.

Further, the Australian government will also ban cruise ships from foreign ports from arriving at Australian ports after an initial 30 days and that will go forward on a voluntary basis. The National Cabinet also endorsed the advice of the AHPPC today to further introduce social distancing measures.

Before I moved to those, I just wanted to be clear about those travel restrictions that I’ve just announced. All people coming to Australia will be required, will be required I stress, to self isolate for 14 days.

This is very important. What we’ve seen in recent, in the recent weeks is more countries having issues with the virus.

And that means that the source of some of those transmissions are coming from more and more countries.

Bans have been very effective to date. And what this measure will do is ensure that particularly Australians who are the majority of people coming to Australia now on these flights, when they come back to Australia, they’re self-isolation for 14 days will do an effective job in flattening this curve as we go forward.

And there are major decisions that were taken today that reflect changing where we are heading.

The facts and the science, the medical advice will continue to drive and support the decisions that we are making as a National Cabinet, as indeed as a federal Cabinet at the Commonwealth level.

But the truth is that while many people will contract this virus that it’s clear, just as people get the flu each year, it is a more severe condition than the flu, but for the vast majority, as I said last week, for the majority, around 8 in 10 is our advice, it will be a mild illness and it will pass. “

 Prime Minister Scott Morrison press conference 15 march : Download full Transcript here 

PM Scott Morrison press conference full transcript

Download PM Press Release

Prime Ministers Press Release

3.Department of Health campaign download videos 

Download Videos

Coronavirus video – Help Stop The Spread

Coronavirus video – Recent Traveller

Coronavirus video – Stay Informed

Coronavirus video – Good Hygiene Starts Here

Dr Norman Swan provides some simple advice regarding Coronavirus.

– Wash your hands regularly with soap and water; or with hand sanitiser.

– Try to keep your distance from other people; and avoid physical contact

– If you need to sneeze or cough, do it into a fresh tissue which you then discard; or into your elbow.

– If you have a cough or a cold, it’s most likely that you have just a cough or a cold; but talk to your Doctor about it before turning up to a surgery.

For more information visit or

5. Dr Mark Wenitong

Dr Mark speaks with Black Star Radio about Coronavirus and the simple steps you can take to protect yourself.

“If you’re not sure, give the clinic a call and we’ll tell you what to do.” Dr Mark


6.Marion Scrymgour CEO NLC

“The NLC has received many calls from community members asking that we do all we can to ensure the safety and protection of Aboriginal people in their communities who are very concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

Should this virus break out in our communities, we don’t have the manpower to deal with this.

The NLC will be launching an information campaign in Indigenous languages to inform people about hygiene, testing for coronavirus and for them to avoid travel outside communities.

NLC staff have also cancelled their non-essential travel to communities including its regional council meetings.

“Somebody could come out and they could get infected and then go back into the community.

“The position we’re taking is if we can push back that virus taking hold in our communities, that’s a good thing. It means we can work at getting better prepared.”

The decision comes after the Northern Territory Government decided it will stop its employees from making non-essential travel to remote communities.

The NLC has received many calls from community members asking that we do all we can to ensure the safety and protection of Aboriginal people in their communities who are very concerned about the spread of COVID-19 “

Chief executive officer Marion Scrymgour said the move was to protect Aboriginal people in the communities who already faced issues like chronic health conditions, lack of resources and overcrowded housing.

Read in full HERE

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #CoronaVirus #COVID19 : PM @ScottMorrisonMP says work is being done to prepare Indigenous communities for possible coronavirus outbreak

Given the level of chronic disease Aboriginal people suffer that makes them vulnerable.

People are concerned about the spread of this – but putting in place a whole series of measures that’s what we have to do.

Communication was essential towards educating communities about the risks posed by the virus – but cautioned against undue panic.

Everyone is better equipped in terms of information this time around and are better informed.

What’s important is we don’t take our feet off the pedal that we continue to make sure people are engaged.”

NACCHO Deputy Chief Executive Officer Dawn Casey told SBS News it is well known Indigenous people suffer 2.3 times the burden of disease compared with other populations

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has begun reaching out to community health services to implement possible emergency response plans. See full article Part 2 below

Read all previous Aboriginal Health and Corona Virus NACCHO Articles Here

And we also suffer a lot of chronic disease, which makes elderly patients more susceptible to any infection.

Testing is another worry — it takes at least a week if you live in a place like Balgo because the sample has to go to the nearest town, Broome, and then down to Perth.

She said she understood that one Pilbara community was restricting access by outsiders as an infection control measure, but Kimberley communities were open.

A number of workers in the Kimberley medical service’s five remote clinics servicing 10 communities had “self-selected” and isolated themselves for a time after returning from countries flagged as of concern.

We may end up with staffing problems in remote clinics if that escalates.”

Lorraine Anderson, medical director of the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service, said remote clinics were already on the lookout for symptoms consistent with the virus.

Indigenous health organisations will gather in Canberra next Tuesday to discuss the threat the virus poses to communities with little ability to isolate patients.

Dr Anderson said it was difficult to isolate people in communities where housing was scarce. See Part 3 Below 

Part 1 :NSW Health and the AH&MRC will be hosting a webinar this Wednesday 4th March 2020 from 12-1pm.

This webinar will focus on coronavirus and influenza and what you and your service can do to protect your communities.

The following people will be speaking and there will be an opportunity to raise and discuss concerns and needs that you have:

  • Reuben Robinson, CEO, Galambila Aboriginal Health Service
  • Dr Kerry Chant, Chief Health Officer, NSW Health
  • Kylie Taylor and Kristy Crooks, Hunter New England Public Health team

The link to participate in the webinar is here:

For further information please contact Megan Campbell, Centre for Aboriginal Health on

Part 2 The Federal Government is concerned about the potential for coronavirus to spread in remote Indigenous communities.

There have been no known COVID-19 cases among Indigenous Australians to date – but work is already being done to prepare the “vulnerability” of these populations against possible infection.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said authorities have reached out to these communities to increase their preparedness against an outbreak in

“We have been engaging with Indigenous leaders because in remote Indigenous communities if the virus were to get to those places, obviously there is a real vulnerability there,” he said.

“So we have been reaching out to those communities to work through how preparedness can be put in place.”

Some 10,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out here, with 34 people returning positive results including the first person-to-person transmissions in the country.

The University of Queensland’s Professor James Ward is one of those who has been working “hard” behind the scenes to prepare Indigenous communities.

The Federal Government will be distributing national guidelines over how to respond to COVID-19 if it appears in these populations.

Mr Ward told SBS News the remoteness, limited access to health services, vulnerability to disease and mobility of Indigenous communities could all make them more at risk.

“The longer this goes on … the greater the chances are of it reaching some of our most remote communities,” he said.

He said the potential for individuals to live in crowded living situations could also be a factor.

“We are working very hard behind the scenes to get our communities prepared,” he said.

“We’ve already seen in previous pandemics in 2009 – it affected the most remote of our communities.”

Research published following the 2009 A(H1N1) swine flu outbreak showed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 11 per cent of all identified cases, 20 per cent of hospitalisations and 13 per cent of deaths.

This is despite them making up just three per cent of the population – meaning Indigenous people were 8.5 times more likely to be hospitalised.

Mr Ward said steps are being taken to make sure Indigenous communities are better prepared this time and ensure they are not deterred from accessing health services.

He said communication needed to involve families and communities in decision-making over quarantine measures and in providing local health services additional support as required.

“The response has to proportionate to the risks in individual communities around the country,” he said.

“How do we communicate this in a way that doesn’t create fear and panic and moves populations away unnecessarily from other communities to their own?”

Globally there have been more than 88,500 infections and at least 3000 deaths spanning some 70 countries and regions.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has begun reaching out to community health services to implement possible emergency response plans.

Part 3 The Australian Continued

A Pilbara miner is at the centre of a coronavirus scare, with resources workers and remote communities fearing they could be dangerously exposed.

The worker at the Fortescue Metals’ Christmas Creek mine has been placed in isolation after returning from Indonesia with flu-like symptoms.

“One of our team members has presented with symptoms that meet the Department of Health’s minimum criteria for testing for COVID-19,” FMG chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said. “We are implementing all necessary precautions in accordance with health guidelines.

“The employee has been isolated pending the outcome of the test, which we anticipate receiving within 48 hours.”

Clinics in Aboriginal communities are also concerned, particularly given relatively high rates of diabetes and heart and lung conditions.

Scott Morrison said on Wednesday that the federal government was talking to Aboriginal leaders “because in remote indigenous communities if the virus were to get to those places, obviously there was a real vulnerability there”.

“And so we’ve been reaching out to those communities to work through how preparedness can be put in place,” the Prime Minister said.