Coronavirus: Alice Springs in lockdown, South Australia gets first community COVID-19 cases of 2021 as Queensland, NSW outbreaks grow

South Australia has detected new community COVID-19 cases for the first time since November last year as the country grapples with a nationwide resurgence of the virus.

The five new cases were detected in a family isolating in Adelaide. One member of the family had been at the Tanami mine in the Northern Territory, where a small outbreak had been recorded last week.

It comes as the Northern Territory town of Alice Springs enters a 72-hour lockdown and outbreaks in other Australian states grew on Wednesday, with the already locked down Queensland and New South Wales reporting three and 22 new cases respectively.

Victoria also had another local case emerge, though it's in a primary contact of a previously reported case who had already been isolating.

South Australia

Health officials announced South Australia's new cases at a press conference on Wednesday. They mark the first locally acquired infections in the state since November 2020.

They confirmed a man and four of his five household contacts fallen ill while isolating in Adelaide, having travelled there from the Northern Territory. The man had visited the Tamari mine, where community COVID-19 cases had been detected.

Adelaide will not go into lockdown, however, as the man has not been travelling around town while infectious.

"If we had information this person had been out and about in broader community, had visited dozens of additional exposure sites, I don't think there would have been any other choice, because we just know how transmissible this disease is.

"In this case, there is still a risk, but in this case, we are satisfied that this is the appropriate response for today."

It's not yet clear what effect the emergence of the new cases will have on New Zealand's travel bubble with the state, which is scheduled to reopen at 11:59pm on Sunday.

The ABC reports government authorities had last week approved a COVID-19 positive family to fly in from overseas to Australia on a privately funded medevac flight, despite ongoing calls to limit overseas arrivals.

The outlet understands authorities knew the family were infected with coronavirus before approving their flight, understood to be the first of its kind to land in South Australia.

Premier Steven Marshall had this week urged residents to get vaccinated, saying the outbreaks across the country should be motivation enough.

"We don't want lockdowns here - what we want is a very high vaccination rate. There are hundreds and hundreds of appointments available over the coming weeks."

On Tuesday, South Australia's Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier confirmed there had been two new COVID-19 cases in the state, but both were from overseas and in hotel quarantine.

"They are not community cases, they are in our medi-hotel system, so we are still very fortunate we do not have any cases imported from New South Wales or any of the other states."

Northern Territory

There were no new cases in the Northern Territory on Wednesday, but a snap 72-hour lockdown has been called in the town of Alice Springs.

"This relates to a man from the Tanami mine site who spent an extended period of time at Alice Springs airport on Friday 25 June," Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

"He arrived at the airport via a charter flight on Friday morning and remained at the airport between 9am and 3:50pm. He did not exit the airport. On Saturday 26 June, after returning to Adelaide, he got a COVID test. That result was not positive."

While he is now out of state, Gunner says the man is believed to be carrying COVID-19 and highly infectious.

"It is unlikely that he was highly infectious during his time at Alice Springs airport. But, like all other other decisions, we will not take a punt on this.

"We will operate on the assumption that he has COVID-19 and we will operate on the assumption that he was infectious while in the Territory. So the Alice Springs area will now enter a lockdown for the next 72 hours to Saturday."


Three new community cases of COVID-19 were reported in Queensland on Wednesday, with one in hotel quarantine.

It comes just a day after parts of the state were plunged into lockdown when it emerged a 19-year-old casual clerical worker from the Prince Charles Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19.

She did not get vaccinated despite a health directive to do so, and visited multiple sites while infectious - including the hospital she works at, a supermarket, a gym, two flights, and a market.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reiterated on Wednesday that the teen had been told to get the jab: "It wasn't a guideline, it wasn't a principle, it was a direction. So there will be a full investigation into that."

Deputy Queensland Premier Steven Miles says genomic sequencing on the hospital worker has confirmed their infection can be traced back to a returning traveller being treated there.

Palaszczuk said the mission over the next few days is to carry out rapid-fire contact tracing and make sure everyone who is a close contact is tracked down.

"So if you have been to any of those exposure sites... make sure you have a look at those," she said. "They're getting updated regularly but we may miss some of them. Please go and check on the Queensland Health website as quickly as possible."

New South Wales

There are 22 new community cases of COVID-19 in New South Wales, all of which are linked to previously reported cases.

Last week, the entirety of Greater Sydney was placed into lockdown, with Premier Glady Berejiklian describing the Delta variant of the virus as a "formidable foe".

The new cases on Wednesday takes the number of locally acquired cases reported in the state since June 16 to 171 - all but 11 of which have been linked back to the Bondi cluster.

"Of today's new locally acquired cases, 11 were in isolation through their infectious period and that is pleasing to see," said NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant.

"One of the key indicators as the Premier has indicated is that we are hoping to see people are in isolation for the infectious period and therefore posing no risk.

"The purpose of the lockdown is that when we do find those unrecognised cases, what's actually transpired is they haven't been to any of those super-spreading venues."

Another 68,220 tests were reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous day’s total of 67,000.