UPDATED: Fears Escalate Over Widespread Outbreak In Northern Territory

Wakeup call

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Health authorities in the Northern Territory continue to scramble to get on top of the latest Covid outbreak.

Eight new Covid cases were reported in the NT on Wednesday with five of the infections detected in Robinson River, including a three-week-old baby.

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Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he's gravely concerned over the growing outbreak.

"The situation in Robinson River and Katherine is serious. We know how quickly Delta can spread in households and cannot be sure it hasn’t spread further in the Robinson River and Katherine communities," Mr Gunner said.

It now brings the Territories cases to 19 infections linked to the cluster in Katherine and Robinson River, as the region embarks on its second full day of lockdown after nine new infections were reported on Tuesday.

Australian Medical Association President Dr Omar Korshid said the potential devastating impacts of an outbreak in marginalised communities is not unexpected.

"This is an absolute wake up call for all our state governments around the country, and our national government to do whatever they can to protect our remote communities," he said, "and of course a reminder to the rest of us that we are going to be living with this disease for the foreseeable future".

"We have always been worried that Covid would get into remote indigenous communities and devastate those populations due to the high risk that we know that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live with, and also in some communities there is very low vaccination rates".

- Dr Omar Korshid

Local leaders and member in Katherine are highly concerned about the risk to vulnerable people in the community who are managing chronic illness, living in overcrowded housing, or rough sleeping.

It comes as the Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service, is closed for deep cleaning after being listed as an exposure site, while Katherine Hospital remains open, despite being listed as a close contact exposure site. 

Contact tracers have been in a desperate race against time to contact 160 people identified from a growing list of exposure sites around the town.

For the latest list of Northern Territory's exposure sites click here or visit the NT government's coronavirus website.


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17 November 2021

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