Northern Territory records one new local COVID-19 case linked to Katherine outbreak

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has blasted COVID conspiracy theorists as “tinfoil-hat wearing tossers” while announcing one new local case in the Territory.Key points:One new COVID-19 case was recorded overnightRockhole has moved from a hard lockdown to a regular lockdownNT Chief Minister Michael Gunner slammed conspiracy theorists spreading “insane” COVID misinformationThe new case is a teenager from Binjari who was previously identified as a close contact and was transferred to the Centre for National Resilience where he tested positive.The Territory’s cluster now stands at 52 cases.”It is unlikely that he was infectious in the community,” Mr Gunner said.”This shows us the hard lockdown is working and that caring for close contacts in quarantine is working.”LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicHe said the Bicentennial Road catchment in Katherine East was continuing to return COVID-positive wastewater results, though the strength was weaker.”The wastewater results for this catchment will be critical for tomorrow,” he said, adding the Martin Place sub-catchment returned positive results and authorities were working to explain that.Rockhole exits hard lockdownThe Rockhole wastewater was negative again and all tests had come back negative, Mr Gunner said.”For this reason, Rockhole will transition from a hard lockdown back to an ordinary lockdown today at noon,” he said.”That means residents in Rockhole are still in lockdown, but can leave home for one of the five reasons.”They are:Medical treatment, including getting a COVID test or getting vaccinatedTo buy groceries, medicine and other essential goods and servicesFor work that is considered essential and cannot be done at homeFor one hour of exercise per day, with one other person or household member, and no further than 5 kilometres from your homeTo provide care to a family member or person who cannot support themselves”Under no circumstances are residents of Rockhole permitted to enter the Binjari community,” Mr Gunner said.There were 3,020 tests processed in the Territory in the past 24 hours, including 27 tests conducted in the housing block where the COVID-positive woman from Binjari visited yesterday. Binjari is under a hard lockdown, meaning residents can only leave home for medical reasons, providing care to a vulnerable family member or friend, or if required by law.(Supplied: NT Health)Close contact exposure sites addedThere is one new close contact exposure site: the Shell Coles Express on the highway in Katherine on Monday, November 23, between 4:50pm and 5:05pm.Mr Gunner urged people to use QR code check-ins at all venues. “Not checking in slows down the contact tracers, which slows down our efforts to track and trace the virus, which potentially slows down the transition out of lockdown,” Mr Gunner said.The Salvation Army store in Katherine has now been upgraded from a casual contact site to a close contact site.Anyone who visited the shop on Saturday, November 13, between 10:30am and 10:50am must get tested and isolate until they return a negative test result.The full list of all current NT public exposure sites can be found on the NT government’s coronavirus website.The number of close contacts now stood at 506, Mr Gunner said.Of those, 482 have been located and are isolating. These contacts have returned 453 negative results so far.’Insane, unhinged stuff is spreading online’After delivering the case numbers and exposure site updates, Mr Gunner said he wanted to address “the huge amount of misinformation being spread online over the past few days.””Hello to all the conspiracy theorists overseas watching this. Please get a life.”There are ridiculous, untrue rumours about the ADF’s involvement. As we all know, they aren’t carrying weapons — they are carrying fresh food for people.”So I urge people not to worry about the insane, unhinged stuff is spreading online.” ADF personnel helped distribute food packages to locked down residents on Wednesday.(ABC News: Jesse Thompson)He said most of the misinformation online was being spread by “flogs outside the Territory — mostly America, Canada and the UK — people who have nothing better to do than make up lies about us because their own lives are so small and so sad.”He referenced a statement released by Binjari and Rockhole residents yesterday, who said the hard lockdown were necessary while they were in the fight of their lives.”We all know what this is for: we are trying to protect the oldest continuous living culture on the planet,” he said.”We have tens of thousands of years of history, lore, custom and songs to keep alive.”And if anybody thinks we are going to be distracted or intimidated by tinfoil hat-wearing tossers sitting in their parents’ basements in Florida, you do not know us Territorians.”Acting Chief Health Officer Charles Pain said today was “clearly a positive day”.”We’ve got one new case in quarantine already, who has been an identified contact,” he said.”What this demonstrates… is an enormous effort to contact trace and identify people, and then with our widespread testing we haven’t picked up anyone outside that who hasn’t already been identified as a contact.”Katherine lockdown to remain for nowDr Pain said it was possible that Katherine could be moved from a lockdown to a lockout sooner than expected, but he warned against getting people’s hopes up.”There are a few loose ends to tie up before we move to that,” he said.He said two people remained in hospital, with one expecting to be discharged today.One of those is a patient in their 70s who is still requiring hospital care, he said.NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker thanked the Rockhole community for complying with COVID directions, and said the people in Binjari had been “exceptional in the last 24 hours” when police went door-knocking from house to house.He said efforts were being made to help residents quarantine on Country, and that police had developed a stronger boundary around Binjari to make sure people stayed there.”We cannot have people continuing to leave, which then puts the Binjari people into a further lockdown period,” he said.Commissioner Chalker said a major storm in Robinson River had impacted telecommunications and delayed plans to conduct further wastewater testing in the area.He said police would be visiting every house in the community making sure residents knew what was happening.So far, 40 people have applied to return to Darwin and Alice Springs from the Katherine lockdown, he said.Police would be helping to transfer those people home, as well as help interstate tourists stuck in caravan parks in Katherine return to their home states.Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 3 minutes 18 seconds3m 18s What COVID-19 travel insurance doesn’t cover you for(Emilia Terzon)What you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…

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