NT records 54 new COVID-19 cases

Laine Clark |

The Northern Territory has recorded 54 new COVID-19 cases after rolling out a new indoor mask mandate.

Six cases were locally acquired, including five in Darwin.

The other is in Katherine, 320km south of Darwin, where there has been an outbreak of the Delta variant.

The NT government said 18 cases were from interstate arrivals, including two miners working at the Granites goldmine in Tanami – 844km south of Darwin – and another from the Gemco mine on Groote Eylandt.

They said another two interstate-acquired cases were in Nhulunbuy. The pair arrived separately on December 29, marking the first infections for the remote Aboriginal community in northeast Arnhem Land.

Nine cases are from close contacts while 21 require further investigation.

The NT government said three of the cases being investigated were tested at the Alice Springs drive-through facility.

Overall 2690 COVID-19 tests were processed across the NT in a 24-hour period.

A new NT mask mandate has been in force since 6pm on Friday, coinciding with many revellers ushering in the new year.

People are required to wear a mask when they cannot socially distance indoors, and are not eating or drinking.

Masks are also mandated on public transport.

The mandate was introduced after the NT registered its record highest daily case total on Friday, with 60 new infections.

Meanwhile, the NT government said 21 people with COVID-19 were in hospital, including 11 in Alice Springs, eight at Tennant Creek and one each in Katherine and the Royal Darwin Hospital.

No one is in intensive care.