NT mine-linked outbreak grows by two

·2-min read

A COVID-19 outbreak that started in a central Australian mine continues to grow, with two new cases diagnosed in the Northern Territory.

Both workers from Newmont's Granites Mine, about 540km northwest of Alice Springs, have been in quarantine since the outbreak started on June 26.

They travelled on the flight from the mine to Darwin after they came into close contact with another worker who later tested positive, NT Health says.

The men returned a positive COVID-19 result on day 12 of their two-week quarantine period at the Centre for National Resilience, near Darwin.

"There is no risk to the community because the workers have been in Howard Springs during their infectious period," a spokesman said late Thursday.

Twenty people linked to the mine have become infected across Australia.

The Delta variant outbreak started 13 days ago when a young Victorian worker, who travelled to the Newmont mine via a Brisbane quarantine hotel, tested positive.

More than 700 workers were immediately ordered to isolate at the mine as authorities scrambled to track 800 more who had flown to homes around Australia, after the infected worker arrived on June 18.

It comes as the NT government offers businesses impacted by ongoing COVID-19 health restrictions extra financial support.

A lockdown in the Top End and Alice Springs ended last Friday but many businesses, such as gyms, yoga studios and market stall holders, have been ordered to remain closed due to NT Health concerns they could spread the virus.

They can now apply for an extra Small Business Lockdown Payment worth $1000.

It comes on top of an initial NT government Business Lockdown Payment offer of $1000, which has already been granted to 2650 businesses.

Small businesses eligible for the extra payment must have a turnover above $75,000 and below $10 million and no more than 20 full-time staff.

Health restrictions ordered by NT Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie are scheduled to end tomorrow at 1pm.

They include wearing a face mask in public, social distancing rules and a 10-person limit on the number of people permitted at private residences.

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