NT registers 19 new COVID-19 cases, Tennant Creek lockout to be lifted today as planned

Northern Territory has registered 19 new cases of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours.

Three of these cases are linked to NT’s ongoing local COVID-19 outbreaks, bringing the total to 154.

Of the rest of the cases, three are interstate arrivals and eight are close contacts to interstate arrivals.

Another two are flight crew members who arrived at the NT on international flights.

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the remaining three new cases were under investigation.

These include two household contacts from a recently arrived intergovernmental arrival, who have so far tested negative for COVID-19, and a nine-year-old girl from Darwin, whose source of infection is still unknown.

Ms Fyles said an updated list of COVID-19 exposure sites would soon be added to the NT government’s coronavirus site.

There are 20 people in NT hospitals, but Ms Fyles said only four of them had been admitted for clinical treatment.

There are no cases of intensive care.

The lockout in Tennant Creek will be lifted as planned at 17 today, as planned.

The mask mandate in place in the Barkly region will also be lifted at. 17.00.

Mrs Fyles said she understood the rising case numbers “may seem scary”, but that the NT was prepared.

“We expected COVID to come, it’s here. We’ve prepared for this,” she said.

“We have had high vaccination rates across the Northern Territory and we have other public health measures that we can call for.”

She said health authorities had not recommended further action at this stage.

But Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie warned territories that it was only a matter of time before public health measures such as mask wearing in taxis and public transportation were introduced.

“There will be events in the future or places where wearing masks will be mandatory and that is important,” he said.

He said the NT government would continue to adhere to its PCR test requirement for interstate travelers, despite some other states, including Queensland, dropping the requirement to ease extreme pressure on test clinics.

“We are in a different environment,” said Dr. Heggie.

“We’ve got much lower vaccination rates in the community.

“I do not apologize. We have a younger population and we need to get young people vaccinated because they can transmit the virus.”

He said the number of people seeking PCR tests to get to the NT had a “smaller” impact on intergovernmental testing clinics compared to other jurisdictions.

Dr. Heggie also said territories must accept that the Omicron variant would spread throughout society, urging people to take responsibility for their own health.

“It’s about personal behavior, personal responsibility [and] responsibility for venues and what they require, “he said.

“So this has to be a partnership going forward and again, we’re going to see this.

Across the NT, 1,600 people were tested for COVID19 yesterday.

Ms Fyles said health authorities expect this figure to rise in the coming days.

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