US marines, nurse among 37 NT COVID cases

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The Northern Territory's daily COVID-19 case tally has almost doubled with 37 new infections detected.

The spike in cases follows a significant increase in virus testing, Health Minister Natasha Fyles told reporters on Thursday.

"It is disappointing to have 37 cases but the good news is that that rate of spread is still low in terms of those positive cases," she said.

More than 20 cases are interstate travellers or people who are household contacts of recent arrivals in the territory.

Two people tested positive after going to a birthday party in Darwin on December 23.

Nine more have been linked to a community cluster in the towns of Tennant Creek and Katherine, bringing that outbreak to 163 cases.

Two were US marines deployed in Australia who flew to the NT from Queensland, and another is a Royal Darwin Hospital nurse.

More than 3600 people were tested in the most recent 24-hour reporting period, up from about 1600 the day prior.

About 20 people are in hospital due to the virus but none are in intensive care.

Territorians have been urged to use face masks and check-in, but no new health restrictions have been imposed.

The PCR testing requirement for travellers - which is being replaced by rapid antigen tests in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland - will also remain.

The NT does not plan to immediately adopt changes agreed at national cabinet to reduce the length of isolation periods and relax the close contact definition.

"The territory certainly is in a different position to jurisdictions such as NSW," Ms Fyles said.

"But the territory does agree in principle with the decisions made at national cabinet and will now work to implement them."

It comes as The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and Northern Land Council continue their calls for a face-mask mandate to be imposed in the NT to slow the spread of the virus.

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