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NT records 75 COVID cases, testing eased

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The Northern Territory has detected 75 new COVID-19 infections as testing requirements for travellers are further eased due to interstate chaos.

New arrivals are no longer required to show evidence of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before travelling to the territory.

They will now be handed a rapid antigen test upon arrival in the NT so they can self-test and report their result within two hours.

“If you are in a queue down south trying to get a PCR test, leave and we will sort it out when you get here,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters on Tuesday.

Children under two years are not required to be tested.

Mr Gunner said the policy change is a response to testing issues in other states that have seen long queues, delayed result delivery and clinics close.

“PCR supply and testing down south are getting thinner and thinner. They are buckling on some places. The shelves are empty of RAT kits,” he said.

“It is now clear we need to be in full control of our testing regime and we can rely of other jurisdictions”.

It comes as fears grow that the virus could have spread to another remote Indigenous community.

A Gunbalanya man tested positive after he travelled to his home in west Arnhem Land, about 300km east of Darwin.

“The man has spent time in Darwin prior to his arrival,” Mr Gunner said.

“He spent time in the community in Gunbalanya while likely to be infections and has spent time in his home with nine others”.

The vaccination rate in the community of about 1000 people is 86 per cent first dose and 71 per cent double-jabbed.

Health workers have started testing residents and the road into the community remains closed.

Meanwhile, four infections were diagnosed in Tennant Creek, 510km north of Alice Springs, as the Delta outbreak that started in Darwin in late October continues to grow.

The four cases are close contacts of previous cases from a town camp.

Of the 75 new infections territory-wide, more than 50 are interstate and international travellers, and about seven cases remain under investigation.

Three cases are presumed to be as a result of community transmission and 23 are known close contacts.

– AAP

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