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Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has apologised for saying a sex worker - who shouldn't be "judged" for her profession - caused the Top End's latest COVID-19 outbreak.
A post on Mr Gunner's facebook page followed news that a 21-year-old woman had been in the community while infectious with coronavirus.
"She is a sex worker. She should not be judged for that," the post read.
The message was removed after about 40 minutes on Monday and late on Tuesday Mr Gunner's office issued a statement.
"The chief minister and his office unreservedly apologise for the publication of this incorrect information and any hurt or distress that this caused," a spokesman said.
He added that it had been a "process failure" and the post wasn't approved by Mr Gunner.
The woman, who has not been identified, denies being sex worker and told Newscorp she was "horrified" by the social media post.
"As soon as we were aware of the error, this was rectified immediately and the incorrect information was removed," the chief minister's spokesman said.
The woman carried the virus into the Top End on October 29 when she flew to Darwin from Cairns after a trip to Victoria.
She then passed the virus to a 26-year-old man, when the pair spent two nights in a Darwin hotel soon after her arrival.
She remained in the community for about seven days before authorities tracked her down and found she'd lied on her NT border entry form.
The woman has since been find $5024 and moved to the National Centre for Resilience, where she took "a lot of time to fully corroborate her story" Mr Gunner said on Monday.
Her travels throughout the community included visiting two pubs in the Darwin rural area on Melbourne Cup Day and a waterfront restaurant a day later.
It sparked a four-day lockdown in the town of Katherine and a lockout of unvaccinated people in Greater Darwin.
The woman is reportedly "livid" about the slur, the NT News reported.
She also said NT Police interrogated her and asked if she "was a sex worker 100 times" after her COVID-19 test returned a positive result.