Nine new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the Northern Territory as health authorities consider extending a lockdown in Tennant Creek.
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said seven of the nine cases were at the Wuppa Town Camp in Tennant Creek, which was due to come out of lockdown on Monday after restrictions began on Friday.
The health minister said authorities believe the cases are all linked to the Katherine cluster and all residents in the Wuppa Town Camp had now been tested.
“We have done 330 tests in Tennant Creek in the past 24 hours” Ms Fyles told reporters on Sunday.
She said the government would “likely” extend the lockdown but a final decision was yet to be made.
“If you get vaccinated it is the best tool to keeping you, your loved ones and your community safe and it is not too late,” she said.
“There won’t be any questions asked when you turn up for vaccine.”
The health minister said one of the Wuppa Town Camp cases was a woman in her 60s who had “pre-existing vulnerabilities” and was “quite unwell”.
She has been hospitalised, as has a woman in her 50s, two people in their 40s and two people in their 20s.
A child has also returned a positive COVID-19 test.
Two additional cases were detected at the Howard Springs quarantine facility in Darwin.
Ms Fyles said testing is yet to reveal the variant this pair of returned travellers has but fellow passengers on a flight from Johannesburg have tested positive for Omicron.
There are currently 236 close contacts in the NT, 183 of whom have been contacted by authorities and are isolating.
“The chief health officer directions are not a guideline, they are the law and so penalties will be issued,” Ms Fyles said.
Meanwhile, police apprehended two teenagers who absconded from quarantine in Howard Springs on Saturday night.
The two 16-year-old women from Katherine were nearing the end of their quarantine period and had returned negative results on their most recent COVID-19 test.
Police took the women back to the quarantine facility hours after they left.