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No new Covid cases for Qld but Top End on high alert as outbreak grows

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Queensland has had a double donut day, recording no new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, as the Northern Territory grapples with a growing new outbreak of the virus.

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Queensland Health declared the greater Katherine region and Robinson River in the NT a hotspot and any travellers from those areas arriving after 6pm Tuesday will need to be fully vaccinated and quarantine on arrival.

The NT outbreak comes as Queensland recorded 82.29 per cent of people with one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination and 70.54 per cent fully vaccinated after a State wide campaign.

“Today I can announce it is a double donut day,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told State Parliament, thanking Queenslanders for getting their sleeves rolled up for vaccinations.

And the first Queenslanders, previously stuck over the border, have now begun the process of returning home after the State hit the magic 70 per cent mark on Monday, triggering new procedures for returnees.

People in interstate hotspots can apply online for a border pass to travel to Queensland and quarantine at home providing they have had a negative COVID-19 test in the 72 hours before arriving and meet other conditions.

And police have begun advising those in the queue for border passes to go online and reapply, uploading their vaccination certificate.

The NT is now on high alert, with 11 positive cases of the virus in Katherine. One case was diagnosed in the remote Aboriginal community of Robinson River, about 1000km from Darwin.

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy revealed that her unvaccinated sister had carried the virus into Robinson River.

McCarthy’s 30-year-old sister and a 43-year-old vaccinated Aboriginal man were reported as infected on Monday.

The nine new cases are household contacts of the pair, who live in Katherine, about 320km south of Darwin, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner says.

“This is a serious escalation of the COVID-19 situation in the NT,” he said on Tuesday.

They include a 71-year-old man, two five-year-old twin girls and a 65-year-old woman, who has been admitted to Royal Darwin Hospital.

Four women aged 62, 40, 38 and 22 have also been diagnosed with the virus, along with a 16-year-old girl.

All have been moved or are in the process of being moved to the Centre for National Resilience, with the exception of the woman moved to RDH.

It is not known if the group were vaccinated.

“I know this is a serious development. We are doing all to make sure you are safe,” Mr Gunner said, addressing the people of Katherine.

Contact tracers have identified 161 close contacts.

However, no new cases have been diagnosed in the remote Aboriginal community of Robinson River, where Ms McCarthy’s sister had travelled and was diagnosed.

Ms McCarthy’s sister’s case is the first COVID-19 infection reported in a remote NT Aboriginal community.

Health teams have been sent to Robinson River, Katherine and surrounding communities for a testing and vaccine blitz.

Greater Katherine and Robinson River, about 1000km from Darwin, were plunged into a lockdown on Monday evening.

 

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