BREAKING NEWS: Man tests positive for Omicron in the Northern Territory as outbreak of mutant variant spreads across the country
- Northern Territory records its first case of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron
- Repatriated Australian who arrived from Johannesburg last week tested positive
- Infected man aged in his 30s in isolation at Howard Springs quarantine facility
Australia’s Omicron outbreak has spread outside Sydney with a man testing positive to the mutated variant in the Northern Territory.
Genomic testing has confirmed a repatriated Australian, who travelled to Darwin from South Africa contracted the new strain, health officials announced on Monday.
The man aged in his 30s arrived on November 25 from Johannesburg and was taken straight to the Howard Springs quarantine facility, where he remains in isolation.
‘He is in quarantine there. He will be cared for appropriately,’ NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said.
A repatriated Australian currently in quarantine at Howard Springs (pictured) has tested positive to new ‘super-mutant’ Covid-19 variant Omicron
Health officials aren’t ‘overly concerned’ about the arrival of the Omicron variant.
‘We’ve dealt with variants all the way through this and we’ve managed those in exactly the way we are doing now. So in many senses, it’s business as usual,’ acting chief health officer Charles Pain said.
‘We have a highly functioning quarantine facility there, we’ve had no breaches, [and] this individual — and the whole cohort of people because they were on a repatriation flight — is in quarantine.’
He added it was ‘business as usual’ at Howard Springs but admitted more cases who arrived on the same flight from Johannesburg may emerge.
‘We don’t know whether it’s more infectious at this point,’ Dr Pain added.
‘It’ll be an interesting outcome if there are further cases on there because of the higher infectivity of this virus, but we just don’t know that yet.’
The minister reassured there is no risk to community.
‘The quarantine facility itself is broken into different zones so our international repatriations do not interact with any of our local community members, Territorians, who may be in the facility as a close contact,’ Ms Fyles added.
The new strain from southern Africa has made its way to Australia’s shores with a third traveller in Sydney suspected to have come down with the virus,Premier Dominic Perrottet confirmed earlier on Monday.
Northern Territory also recorded two more locally acquired cases linked to the Katherine outbreak.
The two females aged 17 and 19 take the cluster tally to 53.
The Northern Territory has recorded its first case of Omicron. Pictured is Chief Minister Michael Gunner
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