Mine workers in quarantine in SA

Almost 30 workers from a Northern Territory mine have gone into quarantine along with their families in South Australia amid concerns they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The workers are among 900 fly-in fly-out personnel who recently left the Granites mine, north of Alice Springs, where one person tested positive last week.

Six virus cases have now been linked to the mine, including three in Darwin.

SA Health says 29 workers who came to SA have been contacted and placed in isolation.

“When I went home last night we had results from 11 of those people, they were all negative,” Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier told ABC radio on Monday.

“I haven’t had any bad news on my phone this morning.”

The concerns come as SA looks set to beef up local COVID-19 restrictions after closing its borders to five jurisdictions to help prevent the virus from spreading further.

Authorities are looking at both lowering capacity numbers at venues and home gatherings and also at mask-wearing rules after what Premier Steven Marshall described as a “significant deterioration” in Australia’s fight against the pandemic.

On Sunday, SA closed its border to Queensland, WA, the NT and the ACT effective immediately after previously locking out travellers from NSW.

Professor Spurrier said officials were particularly concerned that the cases of community transmission in other parts of the country involved the more transmissible Delta variant of the disease.

“At the moment we would say our community is a bit of a tinderbox and we are very concerned that if we get undetected cases it will take off very rapidly,” she said.

“This is an enormous wake-up call. This is the biggest threat in South Australia since the first wave.”

Professor Spurrier said officials were considering revising the density requirement for venues such as restaurants, cafes and pubs and would also look at patron caps for particular events.

As well as the border closures, all Victorians now need to be tested for the virus on the first day they arrive in SA.

There are no restrictions on travellers from Tasmania.

As of Sunday, SA had nine active coronavirus infections, all returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

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