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Mask mandate in NT after new daily record of COVID-19 cases



The Northern Territory will introduce an indoor mask mandate for the entire territory as COVID-19 cases climb to a new daily record.

The territory recorded 60 new COVD-19 cases today. Of these new cases, 16 were in interstate arrivals, 18 were close contacts of previous cases, 11 infections were the result of community transmission, and 15 cases remain under investigation.

Currently, 24 people with the virus are in hospital. None are in ICU.

The majority of cases are in Darwin, with four in Tennant Creek and one is in Katherine.

READ MORE: South Australia records 'significant jump' in COVID-19 cases

The new infections come after the territory yesterday recorded 37 COVID-19 cases.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner confirmed an indoor mask mandate is being introduced "to minimise potential spread of the virus" from 6pm tonight.

"I know the timing of the mandate is not ideal but the fact is tonight will be a special one where people gather in large numbers," Mr Gunner said.

"Unfortunately that's why it's important we need to act now.

"You can still go out, we want you to have as much fun as you can, but we need you to do this as safely as possible.

"That's why you need to check in and wear a mask at all times when you're indoors except when eating, drinking or more than 1.5 metres away from all others.

"If you're doing New Year's right you will be closer than 1.5 metres, so mask up."

Aerial shots of Darwin city

Mr Gunner went on to say "This New Year I want your only regret to be a hangover — not COVID."

He said all cases of community transmission are being treated as if it's the Omicron variant.

There is no end date to the mask mandate in sight.

Instead authorities will closely monitor community spread.

"Over the past 72 hours there has been a growing trend in community transmission," Mr Gunner said.

"We had one case of community transmission on Wednesday, four cases yesterday with at least 11 cases of community transmission today."

READ MORE: NSW cases 'likely' higher than reported as infections double

A sign on display advises the public to the requirements of face masks.

Mr Gunner said there will be a long list of exposure sites updated through the day.

Residents are encouraged to keep across changes here.

READ MORE: 'A third' of Victoria's 5919 new cases Omicron variant

It comes as New South Wales recorded a massive jump in case numbers today, amassing a total of 21,151 new infections and another six deaths. Victoria recorded 5,919 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths.

More to come…

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