The Northern Territory has recorded another 13 cases of coronavirus in quarantine among people who recently arrived on two repatriation flights from India — and there is a warning more could follow.

The new cases — five from an April 15 flight from Chennai and eight from a flight from New Delhi two days later — bring the NT’s total number of recent diagnoses from India to 35.

NT Health authorities say nine of those people, including a one-year-old girl, are displaying mild symptoms, while the rest are asymptomatic.

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said several other people in the facility were being monitored and could also test positive soon.

“There’s a number of close contacts of those cases that we’re also watching closely. I expect there’ll be more cases over the coming days,” she said.

“These people are being cared for, they’re in quarantine, the highest standards are in place, but I do expect that number to rise.”

India is in the grips of a surging coronavirus caseload and recorded more than 300,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase recorded anywhere.

The situation prompted the Australian government to yesterday reduce the capacity on flights from that country and strengthen some testing requirements.

Health authorities on Wednesday warned the Howard Springs quarantine facility, where the arrivals were staying, was dealing with the highest number of active cases since repatriation flights began in October.

Ms Fyles said the NT was now managing 38 active internationally acquired cases.

Today’s update is the territory’s largest single-day increase throughout the pandemic.

Responding to the federal government’s changes yesterday, Acting Chief Health Officer Charles Pain warned the NT health system could be burdened by the increasing cases.

“We can’t allow the health system here to get overburdened, and we can’t allow the risk for there to be any breaches from quarantine,” he said.

“Even small numbers of admissions to hospital — which is where positive cases are usually managed in our system — can affect the functioning of the hospital.

“We’ve had large numbers of positive cases come in recently.”

One of the active cases has been taken to hospital, while all others remain under the care of specialist health teams at Howard Springs.



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By EDONS