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Alice Springs plunged into lockout

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Unvaccinated people in parts of the Northern Territory will be subjected to a seven-day lockout amid fears of Covid-19 spreading in the community.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters on Sunday that Alice Springs, Amoonguna, Yuendumu and Yuelamu would enter a lockout until January 23.

It means unvaccinated people can only leave home for medical treatment, essential goods and services, an hour of exercise while wearing a mask, or to provide care to a family member who cannot support themselves.

“While there has not been a substantial growth in numbers, the proportion of total cases from Alice Springs has grown a bit in recent days from about 15 per cent to about 18 per cent,” Mr Gunner said.

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Of greater concern was the high-risk settings they were being detected in, he added.

Camera IconChief Minister Michael Gunner announced the lockout on Sunday. Amanda Parkinson Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Gunner also revealed 65 per cent of the NT’s hospital admissions for Covid-19 were in Alice Springs.

“This does not mean that they are all unwell. Many are mild cases,” he said.

“We are working on alternative care locations for these types of cases, so we can keep capacity in our hospitals for future acute cases.”

It comes as the NT recorded 327 new cases overnight, taking the total number of active cases to about 4000.

There are 44 people in hospital. None are in intensive care, but 13 patients are considered acute.

ACT

Meanwhile, the ACT has recorded two deaths overnight — a man aged in his 50s and a man in his 90s.

“ACT Health extends its sincere condolences to their families and friends at this difficult time,” a statement read.

There are 41 people in hospital, with three in intensive care and two of them requiring a ventilator.

The ACT recorded 1316 new cases in the past 24 hours, with 716 diagnosed from PCR tests and 600 from rapid antigen tests. There are now 3257 active cases.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

SA also recorded two new deaths overnight — a man aged in his 70s and a man in his 80s.

The state recorded 3450 new cases overnight, with 2401 diagnosed via PCR testing and a further 1049 through rapid antigen tests.

“So quite a substantial decrease from two days ago when we were at 5679,” Premier Steven Marshall told reporters.

There are 220 people in hospital, including 26 in intensive care and six of them requiring ventilators.

There are 571 employees of SA Health who are Covid-positive, and 911 who are either sick or furloughed.

“Hopefully we’re getting towards the peak of that furloughed staff within SA Health,” Mr Marshall said.

The Premier said health services were “under enormous pressure and strain everywhere”.

“I’m very hopeful we’re at the peak of the Omicron outbreak here in South Australia and we can start to ease some of those concerns,” he said.

Asked about the SA Teachers Union considering strike action if the availability of rapid antigen tests and ventilation issues were not resolved before the return to school, Mr Marshall said there were discussions occurring within national cabinet.

“That’s for students and for staff, and that will be the subject of discussions this week,” he said.

“I’m quite sure we can resolve these issues and I certainly don’t think there’s any need for strike action in South Australia.”

While there would be a “disrupted” start to the school year, Mr Marshall said he wanted to minimise that.

“I think the use of rapid antigen tests could certainly assist with that,” he said.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

WA recorded two new local cases and one travel-related infection overnight.

The two new local infections are a male and a female, who are contacts of previously reported cases.

“It is believed both cases were infectious in the community and contact tracers are working with these cases to determine potential exposure sites,” WA Health said in a statement.

“Both cases are now in self-quarantine. Their known close contacts are currently being investigated and will be directed to get tested and self-quarantine immediately.”

The other case is a returned interstate traveller, who is in self-quarantine.

The full list of exposure sites in WA can be found here.

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