Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

A repatriation flight traveler to Darwin has tested positive for the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The man has been quarantined at the Howard Springs quarantine facility since arriving from South Africa on 25 November.

“I can confirm today that the genomic sequencing has shown that the man has the Omicron variant of COVID-19,” said NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles.

It happens as the Northern Territory has registered two new local COVID-19 cases linked to the Katherine cluster within the last 24 hours.

The cases bring the total number of cases linked to the local cluster to 58.

One of the new cases is with a 17-year-old girl from Binjari, who is a household contact and who has been in the Howard Springs quarantine facility throughout her infectious period.

The other is a 19-year-old Binjari woman who tested positive while in the community as part of the third round of testing conducted there.

Mrs Fyles said the man with the Omicron tribe had flown on a return flight from Johannesburg to Darwin and was then transported directly to the Howard Springs quarantine center.

“He’s quarantined there,” she said.

“He will be cared for properly.”

She said territories should be assured that the facility was separated by different zones.

“So our international repatriations do not interact with any of our community members, territories that may be in the facility as a close contact,” she said.

Acting Chief Health Officer Charles Pain said he was “not too worried” about the arrival of the Omicron variant.

“We’ve been dealing with variants all the way through this, and we’ve handled them exactly the way we do now. So in many ways, it’s business as usual,” he said.

“We have a very functioning quarantine facility there, we have not had any breaches, [and] this person – and the whole group of people because they were on a return trip – is in quarantine. “

It happens as the Northern Territory has registered two new local COVID-19 cases linked to the Katherine cluster within the last 24 hours.

The cases bring the total number of cases linked to the local cluster to 58.

More on the way.

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