Tanami COVID cluster grows as Darwin lockdown is extended


The COVID-19 cluster from Newmont Corporation’s Tanami gold mine in the Northern Territory has increased to seven active cases as Darwin entered its second day of lockdown.

Five of the cases are under the care of NT Health at the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility, while the other two are from New South Wales and Victoria.

One new case was recorded in the Northern Territory on Monday – a male mine worker already in quarantine at Howard Springs Quarantine Facility.

Northern Territory Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie said on Monday the lockdown in Greater Darwin will be extended to 1pm on Friday July 2, 2021.

“The situation in the Northern Territory is continuing to evolve, while our health teams are working to undertake a large-scale contact tracing mission,” he said.

“So we can work to contain and isolate the spread of this virus, the lockdown in Greater Darwin will be extended for a further 72 hours to act as a circuit-breaker while we continue our contract tracing efforts.”

Workers linked to Tanami have been directed to get tested and isolate.

Western Australia, which has also entered its own lockdown, has been on high alert to trace any cases linked to the Tanami cluster.

The first case from Tanami was a Victorian mine worker who is suspected to have been infected with the Delta variant of COVID-19 at the Airport Novotel Langley quarantine hotel in Brisbane.

“At this stage, WA Health can confirm there have been three flights to Perth between June 18 and 25, carrying 252 workers from the mine site,” Western Australia’s Department of Health stated on Saturday.

A New South Wales man in his 30s has also been linked to the Tanami cluster, but has been in isolation since returning to the state.

Around 700 workers were at the Tanami mine on Saturday, with the mine remaining locked down.

The Tanami gold mine is a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) operation located in the Tanami desert around 540 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs.

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