Darwin will go into snap lockdown after Northern Territory records four sudden cases

Darwin to go into snap lockdown after four new Covid cases are linked to an outbreak at a major Northern Territory gold mine

  • People in Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield locked down for 48 hours from 1pm
  • Chief Minister Michael Gunner said health officials believe it’s the Delta variant
  • Last week, 750 miners were put in isolation after one worker tested positive
  • Lockdown rules in the Northern Territory are stricter than the ones in Sydney

Darwin will go into a snap lockdown after the Northern Territory recorded four new Covid-19 cases linked to an outbreak at a gold mine, bringing the total number of infections to five. 

Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters at a press conference that residents in Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield will enter lockdown for 48 hours from 1pm on Sunday.

‘We are assuming the worst,’ Mr Gunner said.

‘We are expecting more cases. There is a stronger chance that any new cases will have exposure sites which makes the job of tracing and testing much bigger.’ 

Pictured: Health workers swabbing a Covid quarantine facility in Howard Springs, Darwin

NT health authorities believe the latest cases are the highly-infectious Indian Delta variant, prompting Mr Gunner to impose a series of rules that are tougher than restrictions in Sydney – which now has 112 local cases.

Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for five reasons, including medical treatment and Covid testing, to buy groceries, go to work if it is considered essential, or to care for sick family members. 

Territorians in hotspots will also only be allowed to exercise for one hour a day with one other person they live with, and they will not be allowed to travel further than 5km away from home.

‘For everyone in the lockdown area, if you leave your place of residence for one of the five reasons you must wear a mask,’ Mr Gunner said on Sunday.

‘Your ordinary place of residence is where you are now. If you own more than one house, it is where you currently are.

‘There will be poised to control flow in and out of these regions. NT citizens should not travel, including out of the territory.’ 

The three positive cases in the Northern Territory have all been taken to the quarantine facility in Howard Springs.

Officials announced on Saturday that a positive case was recorded in the Granites gold mine, north-west of Alice Springs – plunging about 750 workers into isolation.

The FIFO worker travelled to Brisbane from Bendigo in Victoria on June 17 and was placed in a quarantine hotel, before flying on a charter plane to the mine in the Tanami Desert the next day.

Regional Victoria was not considered a hotspot by NT at the time.

He was told on June 24 that the hotel he stayed at in Brisbane was an exposure site , and immediately went into isolation.

On Sunday morning, NT authorities receive confirmation that one of the 70 miners who is considered one of his close contacts lives in Palmerston and has tested positive.

The 64-year-old travelled home by plane to Darwin on June 25, before he was picked up by his wife.

‘His only other travel was to collect his adult daughter from her workplace. He did not leave the car. His wife and daughter had no additional movements,’ Mr Gunner said on Saturday. 

More to come 

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