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NT records four new cases of COVID-19, mask mandate introduced

NT records four new cases of COVID-19, mask mandate introduced  9News
The Northern Territory has recorded four new cases of COVID-19 and a mask mandate has been introduced to help curb the spread of the virus.

Certain communities in the Katherine region will be required to wear masks indoors when social distancing is not possible for 72 hours, starting from 2pm local time today.

The four new cases include a man in his 60s, who is not linked to the current Katherine East cluster, a four-year-old child who was in the Centre of National Resilience for their entire infectious period, as well as a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl from the Katherine East cluster.

The outbreak has now grown to 71 infections.

The remote community of Binjari outside Katherine.
The NT has recorded its first COVID-19 death. (Supplied)

Health Minister Natasha Fyles said health authorities anticipated more positive cases to arise over the coming days.

"Territorians should be prepared for more cases coming out of that Katherine East situation," she said today.

"Elimination is not possible, it's not an option for the Territory."

More than 2030 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.

Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles
Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles. (Nine)
New South Wales
COVID-19 numbers have dropped slightly in New South Wales overnight, with the state recording 485 new infections.

It's a decline from yesterday's total of 560 cases.

Two additional deaths were also recorded as a result of the virus.

Hospitalisations are declining as the state inches towards a double dose vaccination rate of 95 per cent.

To date, 23 patients are being treated in ICU.

NSW Health have reported 43 cases of the Omicron strain, confirming no-one with the variant of concern have been hospitalised.

A total of 94.5 per cent of people in the state aged 16 and over have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

From Wednesday December 15 a suite of coronavirus restrictions will ease, with the unvaccinated allowed to enter hospitality venues and retail stores.

Infectious Diseases Specialist Sanjaya Senanayake told Weekend Today cases will likely increase with the new freedoms.

A suite of COVID-19 restrictions will ease from Wednesday as the state hits the 95 per cent double vaccinated mark. (Edwina Pickles)

"It is quite possible and quite likely that we will see a further increase with the unvaccinated being able to mix in those venues," he said.

"However, New South Wales is very well vaccinated so hopefully we should be able to contain those increasing cases."

The event is being investigated as a "low-risk" exposure site after a food and beverage worker tested positive to the virus.

2021 AACTA Awards at the Sydney Opera House
NSW Health has eased concerns the AACTA Awards could have been a super-spreading event. (Getty Images for AFI)

Victoria has recorded 1069 new cases of COVID-19 overnight and two additional deaths as a result of the virus.

Currently there are 310 Victorians hospitalised with COVID-19 and almost 11,400 active cases being managed in the state.

There are 74 people being treated in ICU wards, 37 of whom are on ventilators.

Victoria now boasts a full two-dose vaccination rate of people aged over 12 of 92 per cent.

South Australia

There were 10 new cases of COVID-19 detected in South Australia today, with six being acquired locally, one infection from interstate and three under investigation.

The cases include two children, a teenager, four men aged between 20 and 50 and three women aged between 20 and 70.

A woman in her 50s and two men in their 30s remain in the Royal Adelaide Hospital in a stable condition with COVID-19.

The Norwood cluster sits at 33 cases.

Queensland and Australian Capital Territory

Queensland's case was acquired overseas with the person in hotel quarantine.

Vaccination rates have climbed to 81 per cent.

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In the ACT 98.2 per cent of people aged 12 and over are double vaccinated.

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