News Coronavirus ‘A lot to worry about’: Two more COVID cases in Darwin

‘A lot to worry about’: Two more COVID cases in Darwin

buff club darwin covid
The man with COVID spent four hours at Darwin's Buff Club before being diagnosed with the virus.
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The Northern Territory has two more local COVID cases, with the wife and daughter of a mine worker confirmed with the virus.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said NT authorities still expected further cases to come from the mine outbreak.

“We are expecting more positive cases throughout this week,” he said.

“What gives us hope is how effective the quick lockdown has been. It has meant that the community was largely protected during the infectious period.

“We are still very nervous, we’re not close to relaxing yet. There is still a lot to worry about, but the lockdown is working.”

The number of coronavirus exposure sites in the Palmerston area has also jumped after the latest infections.

“The health advice is that [the woman and her daughter] probably were not infectious during this period, given they had only just been exposed, but given it is the Delta strain, we cannot take any chances,” Mr Gunner said.

The mine worker was the seventh case linked to the Newmont’s Granites Mine, about 540 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs. He returned to Darwin on Friday, where he spent time in multiple venues, including the Buff Club, before being ordered into quarantine.

“Our health advice is that the positive case who spent time at the club was probably at his most infectious from Sunday afternoon after the [Darwin] lockdown had commenced,” Mr Gunner said.

“We’re not taking any chances, we are keeping a lot of people isolated.”

  • See the NT’s exposure sites here

The man’s seven close contacts – one of whom is a taxi driver – have so far tested negative to the virus.

Queensland confirmed another COVID infection in a Newmont mine worker on Tuesday. That person has been in isolation in Ipswich.

Meanwhile, there has been a slow start to COVID-19 testing in Darwin and its surrounding districts, which are in lockdown until Friday.

Just 256 tests were performed at a car park testing facility on Monday with no figures immediately available from NT Health for other sites despite repeated requests.

The Top End’s outbreak started with a Victorian man on Saturday who travelled to the mine via a Brisbane quarantine hotel before testing positive.

About 170 fly-in, fly-out workers from the mine travelled in recent days to Brisbane, 250 flew to Perth and 29 headed to South Australia, with 259 remaining in the Top End.

Public exposure sites in the NT also include the Darwin International Airport departure lounge, Bunnings Darwin and the Commonwealth Bank on Smith Street in the CBD.

The lockdown encompasses the Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield local government areas, and Wagait and Belyuen Shires. Anyone who leaves their home is required to wear a face mask.

Residents are permitted to leave home only for medical treatment, to obtain essential goods and services, for work considered essential, one hour of exercise a day or to provide care.

Newmont was contacted for comment on Sunday.

-with AAP