The Northern Territory has reported 404 new COVID-19 cases as a lockout ends and quarantine rules are eased for some essential workers.
Vaccinated supermarket staff, nurses and childcare workers who are close contacts are among those who will be permitted to leave isolation and go to work.
“This only applies if you are an essential worker and you are needed to keep the workplace functioning,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters on Monday.
The workers also need to be asymptomatic, test negative for the virus, wear a face mask and return to quarantine once their shift has ended.
It comes as a territory-wide lockout of unvaccinated people ends in all but two communities and a new vaccine passport is rolled out.
“When entering venues that are higher risk you will have to show proof of vaccination,” Mr Gunner said of the new system.
The venues include pubs, clubs, casinos, restaurants with liquor licences, cinemas and ticketed events for more than 500 people.
Yuendumu and Yuelamu, about 295km northwest of Alice Springs, will remain in lockout until Saturday after 15 people tested positive in recent days.
“Despite all our efforts over many, many months, Yuendumu continues to be a low vaccination community and sadly we are not seeing numbers increase in any meaningful way,” Mr Gunner said.
“The reality is a large portion of the community are continuing the choice to stay unvaccinated.”
Meanwhile, of the 404 new infections, 28 are locally acquired with 230 yet to be confirmed.
Another 113 are close contacts and 38 are interstate travellers.
“Like everywhere else we are riding the Omicron wave and it is a big wave but it won’t last forever,” Mr Gunner said.
“We just have to hold firm”.
Just 26 infected people or 1.3 per cent of all active cases are currently in a territory hospital, with 11 patients in a serious condition and one in intensive care on a ventilator.
About two-thirds of all 2060 active infections are aged 20 and 39 years old and the majority of cases are in Darwin.