January 28, 2022

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Coronavirus: First two cases of omicron confirmed in Australia

Just a month ago, the Australian government lifted an unauthorized overseas travel ban imposed on March 20 last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Australia, the first two cases of the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Sunday that two passengers were found traveling to Sydney from the South African region on Saturday, referring to the New South Wales Health Authority (NSW Health).

Both passengers passed their COVID-19 test on arrival, and came back positive. The course of the disease is asymptomatic. They were kept in isolation in a private hostel. NSW Health said both people have been fully vaccinated.

These passengers were among a group of 14 people who arrived from South Africa on the Qatar Airways route from Doha. The remaining 12 passengers will be quarantined at the hotel for 14 days. The 260 passengers and other cabin crew are considered to be in close contact and have been ordered to isolate.

The plane carrying the infected passengers landed in Sydney on the same day that the Australian government announced a temporary ban on flights from nine countries in South Africa, where they recently discovered a new type of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, AFP reports. The World Health Organization (WHO) called it omicron and described it as a worrisome alternative.

Just a month ago, the Australian government lifted an unauthorized overseas travel ban imposed on March 20 last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s borders are also set to open to skilled workers and international students by the end of the year.

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It is not yet known whether the discovery of the new alternative will lead to a return to more stringent measures.