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East Kimberley on alert as COVID-19 cases edge closer to WA/NT border at Timber Creek and Kalkarindji

Kimberley health officials are on high alert after two new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Top End towns within 250km from the WA border.

The cases were discovered in Timber Creek and Kalkarindji on Tuesday afternoon, prompting the Northern Territory Government to send the two towns and nearby communities of Gilwi and Daguragu into a lockout until Friday.

The detections took the total number of cases in the NT outbreak to 90, and brought the infection to within 230km of Kununurra and 400km of Halls Creek in the East Kimberley.

The Northern Territory has been classified as low risk under WA’s controlled border arrangements since November 16, requiring all those travelling from the Top End to self-isolate for a fortnight.

WA Health issued an alert to clinicians on Tuesday, noting traces of COVID-19 detected in wastewater in several remote communities proximate to the border and the risks to nearby WA towns.

The alert called for increased PCR testing for those who present with symptoms to detect early cases, and boosted vaccinations to prevent severe illness and death.

As at Monday, the Kimberley’s double-dose vaccination rate stood at 60.8 per cent, about 20 per cent behind the State-wide rate.

Wastewater testing has been undertaken at Kununurra, Halls Creek, Balgo and Mulan this month, with no cases detected by December 7.

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