More than 1,600 people in three states have been ordered into isolation after a mine worker tested positive to the coronavirus at a mine in the Northern Territory.
The chief minister, Michael Gunner, told reporters the man tested positive on Friday and is believed to have caught the virus while in hotel quarantine in Queensland.
The man travelled on a charter flight to the Newmont Corporation gold mine in the Tanami Desert on Friday 18 June. He is believed to have been infectious from 18 to 24 June.
He was asymptomatic and well, under the care of NT Health and being transferred to the Howard Springs Centre for National Resilience.
The Granites gold mine, 540km north-west of Alice Springs, had been shut down and 754 workers on-site were isolating.
A further 900 people, who had since flown to Darwin, Alice Springs, Perth and Brisbane, had also been ordered to isolate.
“We are confident we know all the people who have moved in and out of the mine site,” Gunner said.
“While we’ve never had a case of community transmission in the territory, we have constantly prepared for this situation.
“We’ll do everything we can to test, trace and track this virus, will always do whatever it takes to keep you safe.”
The strain of the man’s infection was not yet known, Gunner said, but health authorities were assuming it was the “worse case scenario” Delta strain.
The chief health officer, Dr Hugh Heggie, described the case as “a major contact tracing mission”.
“Due to the nature of the positive case being located at a fly-in, fly-out mine site, there are a large number of close contacts that have been identified and a major contact tracing mission is under way.
“We will continue to keep Territorians informed as more information comes to hand.
“It is vital that all people check-in and provide their contact details when visiting business and venues in the NT, to assist our health teams quickly undertake contact tracing as required.”