NSW records ‘possible’ third Omicron case

Australia is waking with fresh fears over what the Omicron variant will mean for its immediate future as governments begin to grapple with a new Covid threat.

Open Border Policy, Border Closures

29/11/2021 1:00:00 AM

Australia is waking with fresh fears over what the Omicron variant will mean for its immediate future as our governments and health authorities react swiftly to a new Covid threat.

Australia is waking with fresh fears over what the Omicron variant will mean for its immediate future as governments begin to grapple with a new Covid threat.

‘It will spread’Chief health officer professor Paul Kelly told the ABC on Monday morning there were three key reasons why Omicron had experts on edge.“Why are we concerned? Firstly, genetically, there are quite a few changes to this,” Prof Kelly said.

“I will stress, that it’s still the same SARS-CoV-2 that we’ve become used to, but it is different from previous versions and there are suggestions from that genetic variation that there could be changes in severity, transmissibility or indeed, interference the efficacy of vaccines and treatments.”

He said experts were also worried about Omicron’s transmissibility.“It does transmit from person-to-person quite readily – at least as well as the Delta virus. And so that means that it will spread,” he said.“And thirdly – in terms of the vaccines. There is no solid evidence at the moment that there is a problem with that. Although we will wait for further advice and laboratory studies in coming days and weeks.” headtopics.com

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Appearing onSunrisesoon after, Prof Kelly said Omicron might “replace” Delta, and said the WHO was “concerned because it is different from previous variations we have had”.“What sort of things are we looking at? Three main things,” he began.“One, is it more severe? We do not know that yet. There are some reports it may be less severe.

“Is it transmissible from person to person? It is. Is it more transmissible than Delta? It might be, that seems to be what is happening with Delta. It is replacing Delta.“The third issue is that all the vaccines considered to work in treatments that have been developed continue to work, and at this stage we do not have any definite evidence that there is a problem there, but we are certainly looking very closely at that over the coming days and weeks.”

Chief health officer professor Paul Kelly told the ABC the Omicron variant “will spread”.PM won’t rule out border shutdownSpeaking to Nine this morning, Scott Morrison said there was a chance Australia could once again slam our borders shut to overseas travellers.

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“We never rule anything out. No-one should read into that. We will take decisions based on the best information,” he told the network.“The national security committee is meeting again this afternoon. This morning I’ve advised premiers and Chief Ministers that I’d like to get them to get together over the next 48 hours. headtopics.com

“So we can all be looking and get the same information and make decisions that are necessary based on the same expert medical advice.There’s a lot of information starting to come in. It’s still very early days with this variant.WHO’s Omicron updateThe World Health Organisation has issued an update on what is known about Omicron so far, revealing the new variant remained a mystery.

The WHO revealed at this stage, it wasn’t known whether Omicron was more transmissible than Delta, or whether it causes more severe disease.The WHO is now working with experts to investigate the efficiency of current tests and vaccines with regards to the new variant.

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“As Omicron has been designated a Variant of Concern, there are several actions WHO recommends countries to undertake, including enhancing surveillance and sequencing of cases; sharing genome sequences on publicly available databases, such as GISAID; reporting initial cases or clusters to WHO; performing field investigations and laboratory assessments to better understand if Omicron has different transmission or disease characteristics, or impacts effectiveness of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics or public health and social measures,” the WHO said.

Australia’s CHO has revealed the three key reasons Omiscron has experts worried. Picture: Handout/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/AFPPM calls emergency meetingScott Morrison has called an emergency meeting to discuss the Omicron variant and how to deal with it, with premiers, chief ministers and national security officials set to meet today during an emergency national cabinet. headtopics.com

Appearing onSunrisethis morning, the PM also hit back at claims Australia had reopened too early leaving the nation exposed to the new strain, insisting that our borders “are not open”.“Well, let me stress firstly, our borders are not open,” the PM said.

“The only country to which our borders are open are Singapore and New Zealand, otherwise the only people coming to Australia are those who have very specific exemptions and those who are Australian residents and citizens, we don’t close our borders to Australian citizens, that has only been done once in the case of India and for a very short period of time.

“Of course it is concerning and that’s why we’re getting all the information we possibly can.”The PM stressed that the cases in Australia were in quarantine and insisted that “appropriate action is being taken by the NSW government”, and that authorities “moved very quickly” to respond to the emerging crisis.

He added that the National Security committee will meet this afternoon to discuss what Omicron means for international students and migrant workers, who were due to be welcomed back to Australia from December 1.He said it was “a bit too early” to know whether a 14-day mandatory quarantine would be reintroduced for all arrivals, and called for calm, insisting Australia has already coped well with previous variants.

The PM has dismissed claims Australia reopened too early. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Martin OllmanDeputy PM: ‘We can’t keep shutting down’Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has told the ABC he did not support a potential shut down in response to the Omicron strain.

“We can’t just shut down every time there’s a new variant, because there’s going to be new variants, and they’re going to continue on,” he said.“The economy won’t work and society won’t accept it if we just keep shutting the show down.“So I think there will be a sort of a tempered, sober approach to the assessment of what we do next.”

NSW slams WHO over silenceNSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard slammed the World Health Organisation for taking so long to sound the alarm.“It probably hasn’t been all that helpful that the World Health Organisation has really put out the announcements recently when they’ve known about it since about three weeks ago,” Mr Hazzard said.

The state had relaxed its entry questioning for international travellers, unaware there was a highly mutated variant emerging.“The (passenger) information is not as precise as health authorities would like but it‘s understandable. Now we wish we had more information.”

The health minister also warned more cases were on their way to Australian shores, telling reporters on Sunday it was “safe” to assume the current list of banned nations would not be enough to stop the virus.“It’s not practical to expect that shutting down flights from nine other countries is going to work,” he said.

Domestic borders closing alreadyWestern Australia reacted swiftly to the situation on Saturday, forcing all arrivals from South Australia to begin isolating for 14 days because of its neighbour’s open border policy with NSW.“There is a great deal of uncertainty about the recently emerged Omicron variant so it is important Western Australia has strong protections in place for states which have relaxed their international borders,” Mr McGowan said.

“With little known about the variant, it is important we act with an abundance of caution in dealing with potential spread into WA from overseas travellers arriving in other states.”NSW says the return of hotel quarantine is a possibility. Picture: Adam Yip

SA travellers with plans to head to WA in the coming days have been told their existing approval to enter the state has been cancelled.South Australia made a change of its own, doubling the amount of days international arrivals have to spend in quarantine to 14.

NSW has also indicated the return of hotel quarantine — or home isolation — for overseas travellers is a possibility.“We will take the necessary measures, including restarting quarantine if required, to protect our community and our economy,” Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres said.

Business leader: Over reaction could be devastatingAustralian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said any heavy-handed reaction to the Omicron threat could be devastating for business.“While some caution is understandable, the response to any new and inevitable variant needs to be targeted, proportionate and take into account the nearly 90 per cent of us are vaccinated and tired of lockdowns and border closures,” Mr Willox told

The Australian.“We are just getting our economy back on its feet, but investment and confidence are still uncertain. An over-reaction both in terms of timing and proportionality around shutting Australia off from the world, and state from state, would be devastating.”

The S & P/ASX 200 is set to break below its 200-day moving average for the first time in 13 months and test its September 29 low at 7145.7 points as travel stocks return to the firing line.South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday called on countries to “urgently” reverse travel bans from his nation.

“We call upon all those countries that have imposed travel bans on our country and our southern African sister countries to urgently reverse their decisions and lift the bans they have imposed before any further damage is done to our economies,” he said in his first address to the nation following last week’s detection of the new variant.

Read more: news.com.au »

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Only fearful because the stupid media are beating it up! close the border to everyone already instead of showing up on tv rambling on about BS all day dom It's unusually mild maybe a slight cough Was Australia asleep the entire weekend?

New Omicron cases emerge across Europe as restrictions are re-imposedThe UK Health Security Agency said it was 'very likely' more cases would be found in the UK over the coming days. 9News

NSW records two cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variantNSW Health has confirmed two travellers who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa have tested positive for the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. They're not freaking out! Why are our media and government freaking out! Came at a convenient time didn't it 🤔 That’s a bit of a coincidence, we’ve got two in the uk as well 🤔🤔🤔 Who cares? More scare mongering from the WHO lining their pockets w/ Global Elite Big Pharma money. If the world shuts down again when will you report this is madness as Aus is just about vaxxed from this 'deadly' cold?

Urgent genomic testing underway as new COVID-19 cases arrive from AfricaAuthorities are conducting urgent genomic sequencing to determine whether the COVID-positive passengers who touched down in Sydney from southern Africa are carrying the Omicron variant. Aaaaaand....here come the new fear campaign...cracks starting to appear in their BS narrative so let's ramp up the fear Before flying u required to take a covid test, their tests were obviously negative otherwise they wouldn't have been allowed on the flight, so what is the real story please 🤡

NSW Health Minister and Victorian CHO admit Omicron variant will hit AustraliaThe NSW and Victorian governments are working together with the federal government to plan Australia's response to the new coronavirus Omicron variant. And this variant isn't even deadlier than previous ones. What's the panic? Screw the government and their response

Travellers test positive to Omicron COVID-19 strain after arriving in Sydney from southern AfricaNSW Health confirms two returned travellers have tested positive for the new Omicron COVID-19 variant in Sydney . When can we officially panic Both fully vaxxed and asymptomatic, excellent news!

NSW changes travel advice for southern Africa in response to new COVID variantTravellers arriving in NSW from southern Africa are now required to get tested for COVID-19 and isolate as health officials move to stop the spread of the new Omicron variant. 'urged' to get tested.. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ Hope anyone contemplating overseas travel in the next 2 years is prepared to be be locked out of Australia potentially for up to 12 months, way they keep changing the rules and the evolution of covid ,it’s a risk that you should consider , do you have enough $ to budget for that? We don't want rubbish in our Country