News Alice Springs joins lockdown list as mine outbreak spreads
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Alice Springs joins lockdown list as mine outbreak spreads

A positive case spent time at Alice Springs airport on his way home to SA. Photo: AAP
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Alice Springs will go into lockdown within hours while virus rules will be drastically tightened in South Australia after more cases linked to a COVID-hit goldmine.

Wednesday’s developments came as NSW revealed multiple hospital wards had been locked down after a nurse’s positive test.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced the three-day lockdown of Alice Springs, from 1pm Wednesday, after confirming an infected miner spent most of Friday, June 25, at the Alice Springs airport on his way home to South Australia.

“He arrived at the airport via a charter flight on Friday morning and remained at the airport between 9am and 3.50pm. He did not exit the airport,” Mr Gunner said.

“On Saturday 26 June, after returning to Adelaide, he got a COVID test. That result was not positive. However, he has since developed symptoms while isolating in Adelaide and four of his five household contacts have now tested positive.”

The Newmont gold mine has been linked to more than a dozen coronavirus cases across Australia. The infection was brought to the mine by a Victorian worker, who caught COVID in quarantine in Brisbane.

South Australia

Just minutes later, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall confirmed five local cases in the state, all linked to the Tanami mine.

He has drastically tightened coronavirus rules, but said the state will avoid a lockdown after the mine worker passed COVID-19 on to four of his household contacts.

“South Australia is not going into a lockdown, and I think many people will be extraordinarily relieved about that. But today we do announce five cases of COVID and 19 in South Australia,” Mr Marshall said. 

“After testing negative on a day one, and remaining at home since Saturday, a minor who worked at the mine returned to South Australia has retained a positive test yesterday.”

“His wife and three of his four children, all of whom have also been at home since Saturday, have also tested positive.”

The family has been transferred to the Thomas Scott dedicated quarantine hotel.

Changes for SA include reduced gatherings in the home, down to a maximum of 10 people.

Masks are also being “strongly recommended” in public places, not including the work place or functions.

Those who cannot socially distance at work and can work from home are also being encouraged to do so.

New South Wales

It comes as NSW confirmed more infections connected to the so-called Bondi cluster on Wednesday, the most concerning of which was detected after the cut-off on Tuesday night.

Multiple hospitals have been thrown into a sudden lockdown as health authorities rush to complete contact tracing.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant revealed the additional mystery case was a student nurse who tested positive after working at two hospitals while infectious over five days.

“We know that the student nurse worked whilst infectious on a number of days,” Dr Chant said.

The 24-year-old nurse worked in the rehabilitation ward at Fairfield Hospital and at a cardiology ward and a general abdominal surgery ward at the Royal North Shore Hospital.

It is unclear if the nurse was vaccinated. The case will be included in Thursday’s number.

The state confirmed 22 more local infections on Wednesday, bringing the cluster that originated in Bondi to 171 cases.

They were detected from 68,000 tests in the 24-hour period to 8pm on Tuesday.

Eleven were in isolation during their infectious period, with five isolated for part of that time.

Queensland

Three new local infections were confirmed in Queensland on Wednesday, from more than 18,000 COVID tests.

Victoria also broke a three-day streak of no new community cases on Wednesday, confirming one new local case.

-with agencies