A second positive COVID case has been detected in Katherine on day one of a three-day snap lockdown. 

The case is a household contact of an unvaccinated man aged in his 20s who was confirmed to be COVID-positive last night.

Testing for other household contacts is underway, while three household contacts in Darwin’s rural area are isolating and being tested. 

The initial case is considered the Northern Territory’s first case of community transmission and has triggered a 72-hour lockdown for Katherine and “lockout” restrictions for unvaccinated people in Greater Darwin.

The source of the infection is still unknown.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said contact tracers confirmed the man stayed at the Mantra Hotel on Knuckey Street in the Darwin CBD on Friday and Saturday night.

He said authorities were investigating whether a person recently arrived from Cairns, who spent time with the initial positive case, could be the source of the infection.

Authorities have identified seven other household contacts, 20 colleagues who are casual contacts and 66 close contacts including 13 from a Darwin fishing charter and 53 from the Katherine Club.

New casual contact exposure sites include:

  • Katherine Woolworths on Monday between 6:30pm and 6:50pm
  • Puma service station on the Stuart Highway in Katherine on Tuesday morning

Anyone at those locations during those times must isolate, call the COVID hotline and organise a test.

They must stay isolated until they receive a negative test result.

Katherine Woolworths has been listed as an exposure site.(ABC News: Max Rowley)

Mr Gunner said the Tindal RAAF Base was no longer considered an exposure site, as the initial positive case — a contractor — had been working in a secure location away from the base. 

However, he said the Monsoons nightclub in Darwin CBD was still being considered a “location of concern” after the initial positive case visited the venue last Friday night.

He said although health authorities believed the man was not infectious during that time, it was possible that Monsoons is where he contracted the virus given the amount of people there and his large exposure period.

Monsoons on Mitchell Street
Monsoons Bar in Mitchell Street is a popular location for partygoers.

Mr Gunner said the drive-through testing clinic at Darwin’s Marrara sports ground was being stood up today.

He also said more than 500 people came forward to book a vaccination in the hour after the positive case was announced late night.

“Thank you again also to all of those who’ve come forward and got vaccinated. We know this is our way out of the current situation,” Mr Gunner said.

“So if we if we continue to do this, if we continue with our investigation as we have, we can get on top of this.”

Mr Gunner said wastewater tests for Darwin conducted earlier in the week returned negative results, with results pending for Katherine.

Both locations would be tested again today.

Mr Gunner said the initial case was in the care of health staff at the Howard Springs quarantine facility and was still being interviewed.

Acting Chief Health Officer Charles Pain said compliance with health orders was the best way to help suppress the virus. 

“If we continue with our investigation as we have, we can get on top of this,” he said.

“We’re still very concerned. Few days to go before we can consider what we need to do next so please hold fast, continue what we’ve asked.”

Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said he was aware of a protest scheduled tomorrow, and urged organisers to defer it.

“If you do turn up, you’re going to create a greater demand on my resources that are already out there trying to ensure the protection of all,” he said. 

“And I highlight yet again, please understand, it is your health and wellbeing that is a critical concern to us. Because if you’re unvaccinated, we all know what risks that means.”



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By EDONS