Australia Delays Opening Borders as Five Omicron Cases Discovered

Published November 29th, 2021 - 08:53 GMT
Five Omicron Variant cases were detected in Australia
International travellers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) arrive at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport on November 29, 2021 as Australia records it's first cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)
Highlights
Two new cases of Omicron variant have been confirmed in overseas travellers in Sydney

Australia's Omicron Variant cases have grown to five after two more infections have been confirmed in Sydney. 

The two new cases arrived in Sydney from southern Africa on Singapore Airlines flight SQ211 on Sunday night.

NSW Health said they were both fully vaccinated and isolating in the special health accommodation. 

Everyone on the flight has been deemed a close contact and will need to get tested and isolate for 14 days. 

There are now five cases of the super-mutant South Africa strain in Australia after the two travellers tested positive in Sydney as well as a man at a quarantine facility in the Northern Territory. 

Two travellers, who touched down in Sydney on Saturday on Qatar Airways flight from Doha, became the first confirmed Omicron cases after genomic testing results came back on Sunday night. 

Both were fully-vaccinated and were placed into special health accommodation. 

The third case, a man who arrived at Howards Springs quarantine on a repatriation flight from Johannesburg, tested positive for the new strain earlier today. 

All of the cases were asymptomatic and detected in hotel quarantine. 

Under new federal restrictions, incoming international travellers who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles in the past 14 days must undergo two weeks hotel quarantine.  

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said 141 people have come to the state from the nine countries of concern over the past 24 hours, and all have been sent to hotel quarantine for 14 days.

Although he has ordered all international arrivals to quarantine at home for 72 hours, Mr Perrottet insisted the NSW international and state borders would remain open. 

'Ultimately we need to open up to the world (and) we need to do so safely,' he told reporters on Monday.


'We don't need to have a knee-jerk reaction, we need to have a proportionate and balanced response to the situation that's in front of us.'

'The responses should not be ''Let's shut down''.'

Mr Perrottet also stressed NSW was better equipped to confront new variants.

'We've got to learn to live alongside the variants of the virus that come our way,' he said.

'And the vaccination rate here is one of the highest in the world.

'That is not the case in the southern African nations.'

The premier has said there are no plans to adjust the state's reopening roadmap, which has restrictions easing for the unvaccinated on December 15.

However, restrictions will be tailored in response to the variant if needed, he said.

Meanwhile, the state added 150 new infections to its caseload on Monday.

For the fifth consecutive day, no new deaths were reported.

Hospitals are treating 170 patients, five more than the previous day, including 25 people in intensive care. Ten require ventilation.

NSW is 94.5 per cent single-dosed for everyone 16 and over, while 92.4 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Of 12- to 15-year-olds, 81.3 per cent have received one jab and 76.5 per cent both.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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