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Friday, January 21, 2022

Northern Territory lockdowns after two new COVID-19 cases

Northern Territory health officials have locked down the Greater Katherine region as they fight to get on top of a possible COVID-19 outbreak, including a case in a remote community.

The Greater Katherine region and the Robinson River community will go in to a 72-hour lockdown from 6pm on Monday.

One of the two new positive cases, a 30-year-old Aboriginal woman, lives in the Robinson River community about 800km from Katherine.

It is believed she has been infectious since November 11.

A 43-year-old Aboriginal man, who lives with seven others in Katherine East, also tested positive on November 13, just four days after testing negative.

Health officials believe the man has possibly been infectious since November 10, spends time in Robinson River, and is a household contact of the woman.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the lockdown announcement was likely the most serious update he had to give since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It is not a scenario we wanted, but we knew this day would come,” Mr Gunner told reporters on Monday.

“But we are ready for this.”

He said officials were yet to find a clear link between Monday’s cases and previous cases linked to the recent Darwin/Katherine cluster.

But contact tracers are working around the clock to prepare a list of exposure sites, while health teams have already been rolled out to affected areas for a testing and vaccine blitz.

“We have always been concerned for our remote communities, because of their mobility and vulnerability, especially since Delta has emerged,” he said. 

“This is not a white fella disease, COVID doesn’t discriminate. Get the jab.”

Roughly 350 people live at the Robinsons River community, with 77 per cent of those living there fully vaccinated, while 87 per cent have received their first dose.

Those with any symptoms are urged to get tested as soon as possible. 


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