UPDATED: There have been eight new confirmed positive COVID-19 cases recorded in the Northern Territory from the Katherine and Robinson River outbreak, Chief Minister Michael Gunner has now confirmed, adding two to the total he previously said were under investigation.
Mr Gunner told a press conference on Wednesday morning there six new cases, plus two others, which all involve Indigenous Territorians, taking the total of positive cases to 19 from yesterday’s total of 11.
His office later said there were five new cases in Robinson River and now three new cases in Katherine overnight. All cases were close household contacts of the original cases and have been flown to Howard Springs for treatment, including a three-week old baby girl and a 12-year-old girl.
It is unclear why Mr Gunner initially claimed six cases and gave no details of the two other cases.
Mr Gunner called the latest outbreak “serious” and said he feared the virus would “take lives in the Territory before the year is out”, reiterating his message for everyone to get vaccinated.
Mr Gunner said anyone who left Katherine from November 7 needs to get tested, as well as anyone who was in Robinson River from November 11.
On Tuesday, the NT recorded another nine positive COVID-19 cases from the Katherine and Roper River outbreak.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said all those nine cases were Indigenous people in Katherine who were close household contacts with the two cases reported yesterday.
On Monday, the NT recorded its first positive case of COVID-19 in a remote community, with two new positive cases reported – one in a 43-year-old vaccincated man from Katherine, and the other case in a unvaccinated 30-year-old woman who was also in Robinson River, near Borroloola.
The source of the recent outbreak is still unknown but might be linked to the previous Darwin-Katherine cluster from earlier this month.
On Wednesday morning federal Health Minister Greg Hunt invoked section 477 of the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act stopping people entry to or exit from Robinson River and surrounding homelands.