• Two men, both aged 20, ignored isolation orders and attended the Argyle House nightclub
  • More than 200 people who attended the club that night have tested positive for COVID-19
  • The two men, who have since tested positive for the coronavirus, have been fined AU$10,000 and AU$5,000

Two men in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, defied their COVID-19 isolation orders and attended a nightclub earlier this month, an event that later became a superspreader for the virus.

The unnamed men, both aged 20, were ordered to isolate on Dec. 8 after they were deemed close contacts of a COVID-19 case, Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Despite being given their isolation orders, the duo still attended the Argyle House nightclub in Wharf Road, Newcastle that night, according to the outlet.

Additionally, one of the men visited a private residence on Dec. 11.

The two men have since tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating.

One of the men was issued two penalty infringement notices totaling AU$10,000 ($7,160), while the other was fined $5,000 ($3,580).

More than 200 out of the 650 people who attended the Argyle House on Dec. 8 have tested positive for COVID-19, Health Minister brad Hazzard was cited as saying.

Many of the cases are believed to have the Omicron variant.

The outbreak may have been started by a person who failed to isolate after attending a Sydney Harbour boat cruise party that has been linked to Omicron cases, according to Hazzard.

It was unclear if either of the fined men was the suspected starter of the Argyle House outbreak.

Newcastle has emerged as the Omicron capital of Australia, a report by said.

The Hunter New England Health District, which Newcastle is a part of, had 633 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, Australian broadcaster ABC reported.

Dr. Jeremy McAnulty of NSW Health has urged Newcastle residents to postpone social events until after Christmas "to help keep family Christmas gatherings safe and to protect... loved ones, the vulnerable and our essential workers."

"Several venues and events have now seen transmission of COVID-19, and NSW Health again asks everyone across the community to continue to be particularly careful and practice COVID-safe behaviors," McAnulty said.

NSW had 9,569 active COVID-19 cases as of publication, government data showed. Around 192 were hospitalized, with 26 in intensive care and 8 requiring ventilation.

Australia, overall, has reported a total of 242,764 coronavirus cases and 2,134 deaths, according to data provided by the Johns Hopkins University.

Australia has been under rolling lockdowns throughout the pandemic
Australia has been under rolling lockdowns throughout the pandemic AFP / William WEST