News Coronavirus NT outbreak grows, Omicron reaches Uluru

NT outbreak grows, Omicron reaches Uluru

The Omicron variant has been detected in Yulara, 450km southwest of Alice Springs next to Uluru. Photo: AAP
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The Northern Territory has detected 14 new COVID-19 infections as Omicron arrives in Central Australia.

Most of the cases are linked to a Delta outbreak that started in the Top End, with 11 positive tests among residents from Katherine and the Tennant Creek area.

The Omicron variant has been detected in Yulara, 450km southwest of Alice Springs next to Uluru, after two infected men in their 20s flew from Brisbane to the tourist hotspot last week.

They have now passed the virus to a man in his 30s from the outback community of about 1000 people, which is 18km from the world heritage listed rock.

However, authorities are yet to confirm the third case is also infected with the new variant.

Two travellers have also been diagnosed with COVID-19, including a crew member who worked on a recent Qantas London to Darwin flight.

All the new cases are quarantined or in hospital, with one woman in her 60s in Royal Darwin Hospital’s intensive care ward.

The current community outbreak in the NT sits at 123 cases, with more expected.

It started when an infected woman illegally entered the territory in late October.

The 21-year-old was fined for lying on her border entry form as the virus spread from Darwin to Katherine, 320km south of Darwin, and multiple Aboriginal communities.

A primary school-aged child and a teenager from East Katherine are among the latest cases, with another seven diagnosed in the Tennant Creek area.

These include another primary school-aged child and a 46-year-old woman and two children under five years of age from Wuppa Town Camp.

Three women in their 50s and 60s have also contracted the virus, along with a primary school-aged child and woman in her 20s from Walkabout Bore.

Tennant Creek and Ali Curung Indigenous community, 170km to the south remain in lockdown.

Meanwhile, three men were fined for breaching an outback COVID-19 checkpoint south of Tennant Creek.

The men – aged 36, 32 and 25 – were travelling south to Alice Springs on Saturday when they allegedly ignored the health order to stop at the checkpoint.

Police tracked down the 36-year-old and the 32-year-old on Sunday in Alice Springs.

They were each fined $5056 for breaching a health direction and ordered to get a COVID-19 test and isolate until they returned a negative result.

Officers located the 25-year-old on Monday and he was also fined and directed to isolate until he returned a negative test result.

All three men have since returned negative test results.