Fresh Covid fears in the Northern Territory just hours after lockout lifts

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There's fears Covid-19 could still be lurking in the Northern Territory after wastewater testing found virus fragments in a small town.

It comes just hours after lockout restrictions were lifted in Darwin at midnight on Tuesday and Chief Minister Michael Gunner declared the emergency over. 

But his declaration that the outbreak was under control could have been premature after the positive wastewater tests in Katherine, 320km south of Darwin. 

Darwin's Mitchell Street is seen mostly empty after the city went into lockdown, in Darwin, Monday, August 16, 2021. Source: AAP
Northern Territory officials are concerned Covid-19 could still be spreading in the community. Source: AAP

"There's no need for residents to be alarmed but they do need to be very careful," Health Minister Natasha Fyles told reporters on Wednesday.

Katherine was plunged into a four-day lockdown a week ago when an infected 26-year-old man brought the virus to the town.

Two of his housemates fell ill, along with a 21-year-old woman who brought the virus to the territory from Victoria.

Ms Fyles said all close contacts of the man would now be retested.

Darwin's Marrar drive-through COVID-19 testing facility, in Darwin, Thursday, July 1, 2021. Source: AAP
Authorities have no plans for additional restrictions at this stage. Source: AAP

No plans for restrictions amid testing plea

She also urged people to get a test if they developed symptoms but said there were no plans for additional health restrictions for the town.

"People don't need to panic," she said.

"We're not going to go into a lockout or a lockdown."

Residents must wear a face mask in most public places until Friday.

One new case was diagnosed in the NT overnight but it is not linked to current outbreak.

Ms Flyes said the infected person is an Australian Defence Force employee who had been in quarantine since arriving in the territory on Monday.

"So there is a very low risk to Territorians," she said.

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