Northern Territory’s daily COVID-19 cases have almost doubled with 37 new infections detected.
The increase in cases follows a significant increase in virus testing, Health Minister Natasha Fyles told reporters on Thursday.
“It’s disappointing to have 37 cases, but the good news is that the proliferation rate is still low in terms of the positive cases,” she said.
More than 20 cases are interstate travelers or persons who are household contacts who have recently arrived in the territory.
Two people were tested positive after attending a birthday party in Darwin on December 23rd.
Nine more have been linked to a community cluster in the towns of Tennant Creek and Katherine, bringing that outbreak to 163 cases.
Two were U.S. Marines stationed in Australia who flew to the NT from Queensland, and another is a Royal Darwin Hospital nurse.
More than 3,600 people were tested in the most recent 24-hour reporting period, up from about 1,600 the day before.
About 20 people are in the hospital due to the virus, but none are in intensive care.
Territories have been encouraged to wear face masks and check-in, but no new health restrictions have been imposed.
The PCR test requirement for travelers – which will be replaced by rapid antigen testing in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland – will also remain.
The NT does not immediately plan to adopt amendments agreed in the National Cabinet to reduce the length of isolation periods and ease the definition of close contact.
“The territory is certainly in a different position than jurisdictions like NSW,” Ms Fyles said.
“But the territory agrees in principle with the decisions taken in the national cabinet and will now work to implement them.”
It comes as the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and Northern Land Council continue their calls to impose a face mask mandate in the NT to curb the spread of the virus.