The Northern Territory has detected 10 new COVID-19 cases as the number of infected travellers carrying the virus into the territory grows.
Five interstate arrivals from NSW and South Australia tested positive overnight, up from two on Wednesday and one a day earlier.
That’s the highest daily number of infected travellers since the NT relaxed its COVID-19 border rules on Monday, allowing all fully vaccinated people in.
Authorities say other passengers on the travellers’ flights are likely to be deemed close contacts.
Five Territorians from Tennant Creek, 510km north of Alice Springs, have also been diagnosed with the virus as a community outbreak continues to grow.
They are a woman in her 60s, a man in his 50s, a woman in her 40s, a man in his 30s and 19-year-old man from the Wuppa town camp.
All were household contacts of earlier infections and in isolation.
It brings the community cluster to 131 cases, with more expected in Indigenous communities where vaccination rates remain low.
Eleven infected people remain in hospital, with one unvaccinated woman in her 60s in intensive care.
“She is in the fight of her life,” Health Minister Natasha Fyles told reporters on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a lockdown in Ali Curung Indigenous community, 380km north of Alice Springs, has ended but residents are required to wear face masks in public until 5pm on Wednesday.
A lockdown in Tennant Creek has been relaxed to a lockout with only fully vaccinated people who return a negative COVID-19 test permitted to leave the town.
People in Tennant Creek and the Barkly region are also required to wear face masks in public until 5pm on Wednesday.
A mask mandate is also in place in Alice Springs until 5pm on Christmas Eve.
The community outbreak started when an infected woman illegally entered the territory in late October.
The 21-year-old was fined for lying on her border entry form as the virus spread from Darwin to Katherine, 320km south of the territory capital, and multiple Aboriginal communities.
Police have since launched a fresh investigation into the border breach after an Aboriginal woman died from COVID-19 in early December.