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SA shuts NT border as virus cluster grows

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Fully vaccinated South Australians returning from the Northern Territory town of Katherine will be required to undergo seven days of self-quarantine, after authorities moved to shut SA’s northern border on Wednesday following a spike in COVID-19 cases.

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The new direction which came into force last night bars all Northern Territory residents – regardless of vaccination status – from entering South Australia, with only essential travellers and people fleeing domestic violence exempted.

It comes after the NT recorded another eight COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with five in the remote community of Robinson River and three in the town of Katherine.

There are 19 active local cases in the NT.

Both Katherine and Robinson River have been in lockdown since Monday evening.

Fully vaccinated South Australians who have been in the Katherine LGA since November 10 are required to self-quarantine for seven days upon returning to SA and receive a COVID-19 test on day one, five and 13 of stay.

Unvaccinated South Australian residents are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

South Australian residents who transited through Katherine on their journey home are permitted to enter without having to undergo seven-days quarantine, provided they only stopped for respite or “other essential purposes (such as obtaining fuel)”.

South Australia is set to ease its border restrictions to fully vaccinated travellers from Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT on November 23.

A newborn baby was among the eight new COVID-19 cases detected in the NT on Wednesday.

“They are all Aboriginal Territorians,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters.

“The situation in Robinson River and Katherine is serious.

“I fear (the virus) will take lives in the territory before the year is out.”

All cases in the NT are either at or being moved to the Centre for National Resilience to quarantine, with 234 close contacts identified.

Gunner said it was likely the Delta variant of the virus had seeded in the NT, with genomic test results due on Thursday are expected to confirm if the current cluster is linked to the NT’s first community transmission outbreak several weeks ago.

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