Covid-19 variant: Third ‘Omicron’ case surfaces in Australia

A third case of the ‘Omicron’ Covid-19 variant has been reported in Australia on Monday, the Australian government authorities confirmed. With the new variant cases spreading in the country, the government has decided to reconsider plans to relax the border restrictions.

While talking to media, the Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said, “Recently, a South African man in his thirties flew from Johannesburg to the northern Australian city of Darwin. As per the rules, the traveller has quarantined Australia’s most secure quarantine facility at Howard Spring. However, he was tested positive for the ‘Omicron’ Covid-19 variant on Monday.”

The omicron variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in South Africa, is considered highly infectious and capable of sustaining frequent mutations. World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared omicron as the ‘variant of concern’.

Earlier on Saturday, the Eastern State of New South Wales Health Authority had said that two passengers, who arrived in Sydney from South Africa, were tested positive for the ‘new variant of concern’. Both the passengers were fully vaccinated and were asymptomatic to the disease.

The Australian government authorities are keeping a strict vigil on the international travellers. Since Sunday, over 141 passengers have arrived at Australian airports after travelling from nine omicron-hot countries. However, all the passengers have been quarantined.

The sources said that the senior federal government ministers will conduct a meeting today, on Monday, 29 November 2021, to discuss whether to change border restrictions rules.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt was quoted saying, “Australian authorities will take extra precautionary steps if the medical evidence requires more action.”

Also, the government may reconsider its orders of allowing people to land at Sydney and Melbourne airports without compulsory quarantine. Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier announced that vaccinated students, skilled workers and travellers on working vacation could travel without quarantine, starting from this Wednesday.

Keeping in view of the rising transmission of the infection, the national capital Canberra has already introduced mandatory 72-hour quarantine for all international travellers.

 

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