The greater Darwin region is under a 48-hour lockdown effective from Sunday at 1pm, following five cases of COVID-19 linked to an infected miner at a central Australian mine, with more expected.
Residents in Darwin, Palmerston, Litchfield, the Darwin rural area, as well as the Wagait and Belyuen shires will only be permitted to leave their homes if seeking medical treatment including COVID testing and vaccinations, for essential work, to obtain essential goods and services (including alcohol), for one hour of exercise within a 5km radius and to provide care for other who are unable to care for themselves, the NT Government has ordered.
Everyone must wear a mask while outside of their homes.
Travel outside the NT is also not permitted.
It’s the first lockdown since the pandemic started for the Northern Territory which has so far not recorded community transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner declared the lockdown on Sunday afternoon, giving Territorians about 90 minutes notice, which resulted in long queues at grocery stores across the Top End as people stocked up on supplies despite grocery stores remaining open during the lockdown.
Mr Gunner said he could not rule out extending the lockdown if required.
Contact tracers are continuing to find all contacts of the infected mine worker in an attempt to stop an outbreak across the NT.
All five cases are connected to the infected worker at the Granites Tanamai gold mine site in central Australia, about 540km northwest of Alice Springs.
Auhtorities say the man contracted the virus while at a quarantine hotel in Brisbane before arriving at the mine site via a charter flight.
Two of the new cases are from workers at the site, one is back in NSW, one flew back to Queensland, and another flew to Darwin from the mine to return to his Palmerston home where he, his wife and adult daughter are all at the Howard Springs quarantine facility.
“We are expecting more cases and we aren’t expecting them to be as clear as the new cases this morning,” Mr Gunner said on Sunday morning.
“There is a much stronger chance that any new cases will have exposure sites, which makes the job of tracing and testing them much bigger.”
All contacts of the original man, feared to be between 15 and 20, are now in isolation, authorities said.
A hotline has been set up to answer Territorians’ questions and can be contacted on 1800 193 111.
Other lockdown and COVID-19 information can be found on the government’s COVID website.