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Reuters reports that Australia has shut down its revered indigenous site of Uluru after some community members blocked an access road over fears visitors could carry coronavirus infections.The country is grappling with a new wave of the deadly virus, with the southeastern state of Victoria reeling from hundreds of infections, while Indigenous Australians are seen at higher risk as they suffer from an incidence higher in other health problems.

“It’s up to tourists to stay away if they are coming from hot spots or if they are sick,” Thalia Bohl-Van Den Boogaard, representative of a group of indigenous Australians protesting, told Reuters. these visits.

A few protesters from the indigenous community stood on the main entrance road to the park on Tuesday, down from the numbers of 30 to 40 who had turned away tourists before the attraction closed, she said.

The group was concerned about 39 people arriving in a nearby town from the northeastern city of Brisbane, a declared hotspot of the virus, said Bohl-Van Den Boogaard, the chief executive of the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation.

“People here have been locked into their communities for months and months to contain the spread, and now it’s not up to them to do the right thing,” she added, urging visitors to stay. apart.

About 350 tourists have visited the park after the state borders reopened in July since the closure in March during the first wave of the pandemic, Bohl-Van Den Boogaard said.

Parks Australia, the state manager of heritage estates and natural sites, said it was working as part of a “collective response” to minimize the risk of contagion.

“At the request of the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will be closed,” a spokesperson for the Australian Broadcasting Corp told Monday.

A spokeswoman for the agency said the park will remain closed during discussions with the group and Northern Territory officials to step up screening and health tests at the local airport and in Yulara, the town visited by the Brisbane group.


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