Genomic testing confirmed that two overseas travelers who arrived in Sydney, Australia from southern Africa were infected with the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Both passengers arrived on Saturday evening and are in isolation at the Special Sanatorium. Both are fully vaccinated.
The two passengers were among 14 people from southern Africa who arrived on Qatar Airways flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney, with the remaining 12 passengers undergoing a 14-day hotel quarantine.
The confirmation follows a warning from the NSW Prime Minister that the pandemic is not over yet, after two confirmed cases showed positive results on arrival.
About 29 people, who have traveled to one of nine South African countries subject to increased restrictions, landed in Sydney on two flights on Saturday night.
All of them have been quarantined at the hotel.
All passengers on a Qatar Airways flight are now classified as close and must be isolated for 14 days, even if they have not been to southern Africa.
Prime Minister Dominique Perrotte says it is a reminder that the pandemic is not over yet and described his approach as precautionary.
However, he cautioned that this option should be expected to spread around the world.
“We need to learn to live side by side with the virus. We need to learn to live with the variants of the virus, ”he said.
Although he ordered all international arrivals to be quarantined at home for 72 hours, Perrotte insisted that NSW’s international and national borders remain open.
“We cannot be a hermit kingdom on the other side of the world,” he said.
“There is a lot that governments can do. The best thing we can do as humans is to get vaccinated, get boosted, and that will keep you and your family safe. ”
The three-day quarantine is in addition to the federal government’s requirement for travelers to be quarantined for two weeks if they have traveled to South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, or the Seychelles in the past. 14 days.
Perrott said there are no plans to adjust the state’s reopening roadmap, so restrictions on the unvaccinated will continue to be eased on December 15.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said little is known about the new strain, although it may be more infectious than Delta.
In particular, according to him, the effectiveness of existing vaccines against Omicron has not yet been clarified.
Hazzard said the Delta version took just three weeks to reach 53 countries.
Anyone who is already in New South Wales and has traveled to nine South African countries in the previous 14 days should be screened immediately, isolated for 14 days, and contact NSW Health.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, 185 new cases were added to the number of cases in the state.
For the fourth day in a row, no new deaths have been reported.
New South Wales hospitals continue to treat 165 patients, nine fewer than the previous day. Twenty-four are in intensive care units, 21 of which are not vaccinated, and nine are on mechanical ventilation.
Testers processed more than 54,000 results in 24 hours before 20:00 on Saturday.
In New South Wales, 94.5% are given once for everyone aged 16 and over, and 92.4% are fully vaccinated.
Of 12-15-year-olds, 81.3% received one injection, and 76.5% both.
Nick Gibbs and Hannah Ryan