NT COVID-19 Source Furious after ‘Sex Worker’ Facebook Slur

By Steve Milne
Steve Milne
Steve Milne
November 10, 2021 Updated: November 10, 2021

A Cairns woman who sparked the Northern Territory COVID-19 outbreak has said she was “livid” at the Facebook post made by the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister Michael Gunner, which incorrectly alleged she was a sex worker in a COVID-19 press release by Chief Minister Micahel Gunnar.

The since-deleted post, detailed her recent movements in the community while infectious read: “She is a sex worker, she should not be judged for this.”

Speaking to the NT News on Wednesday, the woman who does not work in the sex industry, said she was horrified by the post.

“I am so …. livid at the moment,” she said. 

The woman produced a weak positive test on Friday, Nov. 5, but is asymptomatic.

Once her COVID-19 infection was confirmed, the woman said she was interviewed by NT police who she said asked her repeatedly if she worked in the sex industry.

“The NT Police interrogated me, asking if I was a sex worker 100 times over—which I’m not,” she said.

She is currently in Howard Springs quarantine facility and has been fined $5024 for not providing correct information to authorities.

The Chief Minister’s office has unreservedly apologised for the misrepresentation of the woman, with NT News reporting a spokesperson for the Chief Minister saying that while the information provided at Monday’s press conference was accurate, the statement posted on Facebook was not.

“There was a process failure which later led to information, which was factually incorrect and had not been approved by the Chief Minister, being published to the Chief Minister’s Facebook page,” he said.

He added that as soon as they became aware of the error, the post was immediately removed.

“As soon as we were aware of the error, this was rectified immediately, and the incorrect information was removed,’ the spokesperson said. “The Chief Minister and his office unreservedly apologise for the publication of this incorrect information and any hurt or distress that this caused.

Authorities believe the 21-year-old woman was infectious in the community for seven days and visited two pubs in the Darwin rural area on Melbourne Cup Day and a waterfront restaurant a day later.

She had previously spent four days in Victoria before driving to Adelaide on Oct.25. She then flew back to Cairns and then onto Darwin on Oct.29.

It was at that point she passed on the infection to a local man with whom she spent the weekend, which led to the current outbreak in the Northern Territory.

The woman reportedly told NT News that she had gone to Victoria to visit her father, who had been diagnosed with cancer. However, she admitted she had kept this journey secret from border officials even though Victoria is currently a hotspot.

The  NT cluster currently stands at 5. Click this link for a list of exposure sites.

Steve Milne