NT records 12 new COVID-19 cases, police search for men accused of skipping quarantine in Alice Springs

The Northern Territory has registered 12 new cases of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours, including two cases associated with the territory’s current outbreak.

In a statement issued late this morning, the NT government said the two local cases were both household contacts from previous cases from Tennant Creek.

It said both cases were quarantined and not contagious while in the community.

The two new cases bring the total NT COVID outbreak to 146.

The other 10 cases in the NT unrelated to the local outbreak include five interstate arrivals, all of which isolate themselves at home or at the Howard Springs quarantine facility, and three close contacts of interstate arrivals.

They include a case which is a close contact with two workers in Yulara, near Uluru, who tested positive after traveling to the NT from Brisbane days ago.

That case is quarantined in Howard Springs and was not contagious in the community.

Another case was discovered in Darwin, where the statement simply said the source of the infection was “under investigation”.

There were no cases detected in Nhulunbuy where authorities are urging people to step up for testing after sewage tests yielded positive results on Saturday.

1,788 COVID-19 tests were performed in the NT yesterday.

There are currently 15 people in NT hospitals with COVID-19, including one in the intensive care unit, according to the government statement.

It said most people in the hospital were there for assessment and infection control.

Police are looking for two men charged with skipping quarantine

Police in the Northern Territory are looking for two men who they say crossed the border from South Australia on Christmas Eve and failed to be quarantined in Alice Springs as directed.

They say Akiir Lueth, 29, and Pashaiy Ayiik, 31, entered the territory via the Kulgera checkpoint near the NT / SA border on Friday.

The couple was asked to quarantine at the Todd facility in Alice Springs, but did not arrive.

Police say the car the men were driving – a red Ford Focus Hatch – was located on Gap Road, which is close to the central business district.

It is believed that the men are currently in Alice Springs.

Portraits in passport or mug picture of two men
NT police say Akiir Lueth (left) and Pashaiy Ayiik were sent to quarantine on Friday.(Delivered: NT Police)

NT Police Incident Controller acting commander Lauren Hill said the men were in violation of a Chief Health Officer’s directive and their actions posed a risk to the Alice Springs community.

“We are currently dealing with COVID-19 cases in other parts of the territory, and the actions of these men are putting unnecessary pressure on police resources,” she said.

“Both men are required to present themselves to police at the front gate of the Alice Springs Quarantine Facility.”

A mask mandate issued to Alice Springs last week due to potential concerns about the spread of COVID-19 from Tennant Creek was lifted on Christmas Eve.

Since the border reopened on December 20, intergovernmental and overseas arrivals can travel freely in most parts of the NT, but must show a negative PCR test result on arrival or isolate until they return a negative test.

The NT government says an update on COVID case numbers will be released via press release this morning.

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