NT raises alarm after miner tests positive for COVID-19, more than 900 have left site

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A miner in the Northern Territory has tested positive for COVID-19 with authorities believing he contracted the virus during hotel quarantine in Queensland.

The mine is located about 300 kilometres from Yuendumu and NT chief minister Michael Gunner said everyone at the mine while the man was infectious between June 18 and June 24 is now isolating or being instructed to isolate with contact tracers chasing every person who visited or worked at the mine.

Mr Gunner said the mine had a strict COVID-19 plan, but some of the miners may have left the mine and headed to other locations while potentially infectious.

More than 900 people have left the mine site during the time the man was potentially infectious and 754 people are currently in quarantine at the mine. Seventy close contacts of the man with COVID-19 are being sent to the quarantine facility at Howard Springs.

Contact tracers have address details for all those who have left the site and are reaching out to them, NT authorities said.

“In Queensland he was directed to quarantine as they have directions in place for anyone travelling from Victoria and based on the testing, we believe he caught coronavirus in the quarantine hotel in Brisbane,” Mr Gunner said.

“He travelled to the Northern Territory to work on the mine site. We did not have restrictions in place on that day for anyone from Queensland or regional Victoria.”

On June 24 the miner received a text message from NSW Health advising him the hotel in Brisbane was a potential exposure site and immediately isolated and tested.

He received the message from NSW because his driver’s licence is currently registered in that state.

“As soon as his test came back positive around midnight, approximately 12 hours ago, the director for disease control was notified and our procedures kicked in and everyone on the mine site has gone into isolation and the mine started shutdown processes and tracing commenced,” Mr Gunner said.

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