“We can’t even talk to each other anymore, families can’t even come together.”

16th Apr 2020

Anne Thompson, an Anangu Pitjantjara Yankunytjatjara woman - shares how her community of Pukatja is coping with the threat of COVID-19.

Ms Thompson a local artist and spokesperson, has confirmed that her community of Pukatja (Ernabella) 330 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs is currently going well … despite the threat of Coronavirus.

Ms Thompson tells Josef Egger that her local clinic and health workers have advised the community members to keep their houses clean and to regularly wash their hands.

There is a major emphasis is maintaining personal hygiene before entering their local store, with hand dispensary stations located in and outside the shop. The store will only allow one-person-at-a-time to enter, where community members must line in a que before entering. Children are prohibited from entering the store and must wait outside.

Currently the prices have been reduced and are set affordably with plenty of supplies. Community members can only purchase supplies with a key card.

The community members are doing a great job at maintain their social distancing, however, it is at times quite frustrating and confusing to be away from family – “We can’t even talk to each other anymore, families can’t even come together.”

There are also current concerns with people using the backroads without accountability - “as for Anangu living here, we don’t know even know who comes in and goes out.” These matters are being dealt by the police and community elders, but Ms Thompson believes there can be more done to protect the people living in the community.

Although the circumstances currently are quite challenging Australia wide, especially for our remote communities. The community of Pukatja is doing okay and is setting a great example of steps we can all take in the fight of COVID-19.

“Look after your kids, look after your Elders…this is what we are supposed to be doing… looking after everybody.”