Miner in Northern Territory tests positive for Covid-19

A miner in the Northern Territory has tested positive for Covid-19, sending hundreds of people across the country into isolation.

The man, a worker at the Granites Mine in the Tanami Desert, 540 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday morning.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the man travelled from Bendigo in Victoria to the Northern Territory on June 17 via Queensland where he was placed in hotel quarantine.

Authorities believe the man was infectious from June 18-24.

This gold mine in the middle of the Tanami desert is situated 550 kilometres Northwest of Alice Springs in the red centre of central Australia.
The mine in the Tanami desert. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

Mr Gunner said it’s believed the man spent time in quarantine in Queensland and it’s believed this is where he caught the novel coronavirus.

He said on June 24 the miner received a text informing him the hotel was a likely exposure site before he “immediately isolated and tested”.

“The mine has an exceptionally tight Covid-19 management plan and processes in place,” Mr Gunner said.

“We are confident we know all of the people who have moved in and out of the mine site.”

All 745 people currently at the mine site have been placed into isolation.

Mr Gunner said about 900 people had left the mine site travelling to Darwin, Alice Springs, Perth and Brisbane.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner is pictured.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has confirmed a miner has tested positive for Covid-19. Source: ABC

“We are asking all 900 to identify where they are isolating, where they have travelled to another jurisdiction, we will advise that jurisdiction,” he said.

The minister said health authorities have identified 70 close contacts of the miner.

Mr Gunner said health authorities do not know what strain of coronavirus the miner has. But they are assuming it is the highly contagious Delta variant and are treating it as a “worst case scenario”.

“It is better to over prepare than underestimate the risk,” he said.

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