The Greater Darwin region and Katherine has gone into a three-day lockdown as of noon on Monday, after a man in his 30s travelling from Sydney tested positive for COVID-19 overnight.
The man arrived in Darwin on Thursday August 12, from Sydney via Canberra, for “legitimate work purposes”, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said at a press conference this morning.
The man had completed 14-day quarantine in Sydney after arriving from overseas before travelling to the NT, returning a negative test on August 10 and being released on August 12.
While the ACT was a declared hotspot at the time, the man was permitted to enter the NT without quarantining.
Health authorities are unsure which variant of COVID the man has at this time, but Mr Gunner said there was a “very real risk” that it has been transmitted to others, including “our vulnerable populations” and is most likely the Delay strain.
While in Darwin, the man travelled by taxi to the Darwin Hilton hotel on Thursday night and then back to the airport on Friday with an Uber to get a hire car. He was then in the Darwin area for a couple days.
On Sunday morning, the man went to Royal Darwin Hospital to be tested and then drove to Katherine for work. Once there, he met a friend and went to the Katherine Woolworths.
“We do not yet know the variant of this virus, but we are assuming it is the Delta variant,” Mr Gunner said.
Authorities are also unsure of where the man contracted the virus.
“There’s a very real risk that the virus has been transmitted to others,” Mr Gunner said.
“There is a very real risk that those people have travelled elsewhere in the community and there is a very real risk that this includes contact with our vulnerable populations.”
The lockdown restrictions will be similar to July’s lockdown, Mr Gunner said.
The lockdown will also apply to the municipality of Katherine, including Tindal base. It will be in effect until noon on Thursday, but authorities say it may be extended if necessary.
Chief Health Officer High Heggie said the positive case was “significant” for the NT and that the “short, sharp action” was the only way to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“Our contact tracers are working around the clock to identify public exposure sites and close contacts,” he said. “We will continue to keep Territorians informed as more information comes to hand.”
Close contact exposure sites in Darwin and Katherine:
Darwin Mini-Mart on Smith Street on Friday evening, August 13, between 6 and 6:15pm and again on Saturday between 2:40pm and 2:50pm.
Salvatore’s restaurant in the Darwin CBD on Friday, between 6pm and 6:15pm.
The Outback Steak and Curry restaurant on Mitchell St on Saturday, August 14, between 1:45pm and 3pm.
The Knotts Crossing resort reception area in Katherine between 1:15pm and 2pm.
Health authorities are urging people who were in those locations to isolate immediately and call the COVID hotline on 1800 490 484 to arrange a test. They are also being told not to leave their homes and the test will be arranged for them.
Casual Contact sites:
The Avis car rental counter at the Darwin Airport on Friday, August 13, between 11:30am and 11:45am.
The Smith Street Mall at times to be announced later.
The Hilton Hotel and Mitchell Street, specific times and areas of the hotel to be announced later today.
The Katherine Woolworth’s on Sunday, August 15, between 12:30 and 1pm.
People who have been in those locations at those times are being asked to isolate and get tested.
Passengers on board the Qantas flight are currently being contacted, health authorities said. And CCTV footage is currently being reviewed to
Anyone who was not in those areas is being asked not to test unless feeling unwell.
“Please do not go and get tested for no reason,” Mr Gunner said.
More information from the NT Government:
Residents from affected areas must stay at home for the 72 hour lockdown period and people are only permitted to leave home for the following five reasons:
- 1. Medical treatment, including COVID testing or vaccination
- 2. For essential goods and services, like groceries and medications
- 3. For work that is considered essential
- 4. For one hour of outdoor exercise a day within 5 km from your home with one other person or people from your house
- 5. To provide care and support to a family member or person who cannot support themselves.
Schools in affected areas will remain open only for the children of essential workers.
For everyone in the lockdown area, masks must be worn if you leave your place of residence for one of these five reasons.
Your place of residence is where you live right now.
Anyone caught breaching today’s directions – including not wearing a mask – faces a $5,000 fine.
Police will be establishing interception points to control travel in and out of these regions.
Territorians in the lockdown areas should not travel – including out of the Territory – unless it is for one of the five reasons.
Non-Territorians are permitted to leave the Territory.
More information, including updates on the public exposure sites can be found here.