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Traveller may be NT COVID outbreak source

Health workers are racing to find the source of the Northern Territory’s first outbreak of COVID-19 in the community after a second person was diagnosed with the virus.

A three-day lockdown in Katherine continues and a lockout in Greater Darwin is scheduled until midnight on Sunday, as contact tracers investigate a traveller from Queensland.

The new case is housemate of an unvaccinated man in his 20s who was diagnosed in Katherine, 320km south of Darwin, on Thursday.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner says that man had stayed at Darwin’s Mantra Hotel with a traveller from north Queensland after visiting the Monsoons pub and nightclub.

“We do know that he spent time on Friday and Saturday night with a person who had recently arrived from Cairns,” he told reporters on Friday.

“So we are investigating that further and that person is now in quarantine and we are interviewing them to determine if this is the source.”

Mr Gunner said the man was likely to be infected with the Delta variant and he could have been infectious in the community from Sunday until Tuesday, when he started developing symptoms.

It comes as Katherine starts its second day of lockdown.

The town went into a 72-hour lockdown at 12.01am on Friday.

Greater Darwin also had health restrictions imposed, with its first lockout for unvaccinated people.

Under the new rules, only fully vaccinated people are permitted to move about the community so long as they wear a face mask and show their vaccination certificate.

Mr Gunner previously said Katherine was locked down because its vaccination rate was below 80 per cent double-dosed.

Seventy-five per cent of eligible residents have had their first dose and 65 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Across the NT, 78 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had one dose and 65 per cent have had two jabs, according to federal government data.

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