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Australia Victorian authorities investigate suspected Omicron case as state records 1007 cases, three deaths

02:21  29 november  2021
02:21  29 november  2021 Source:   theage.com.au

Fears new Covid super-variant Omicron ALREADY is already in Australia

  Fears new Covid super-variant Omicron ALREADY is already in Australia Health Minister Greg Hunt on Saturday announced Australia would be joining Europe and the US in closing its borders to nine southern African countries to stop the new variant from entering the country. There are though 20 returned travellers quarantining in the Northern Territory who were repatriated from South Africa last week - one of whom has tested positive to Covid.Health officials in the Northern Territory are expected to confirm whether or not the infected case has the hyper-virulent new variant later on Saturday evening.

Victoria has recorded 1196 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths as the state edges closer to 90 per cent double dose milestone. More than 89 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over are now fully vaccinated days after the Victorian government eased a raft of restrictions. It's third consecutive day the vaccination rate has stalled at 89 per cent. The state 's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton describing the declining ICU figures as encouraging while confirming 17 of the 19 death were not vaccinated.

Victorian health authorities are also investigating whether the potential third NSW Omicron case could have infected anyone there while on a trip to Victoria . Government sources said the Victorian Government was considering extending quarantine and reintroducing mask mandates in some settings. He said the Australian people and the government has worked 'to open safely and remain safely open'. NSW recorded 185 new Covid-19 on Sunday morning, while Victoria recorded 1,061 new cases and four deaths .

Victorian health authorities are investigating a suspected case of the Omicron strain of coronavirus as the state recorded 1007 new cases and three deaths.

International travellers arrive at Melbourne Airport earlier this month. © Eddie Jim International travellers arrive at Melbourne Airport earlier this month.

A positive COVID-19 case who arrived in Sydney from a country of concern visited Victoria for a short trip before returning to NSW.

A Health Department spokesperson said on Sunday night that the person had been questioned and close contacts would be notified and provided with advice. So far, no returned travellers in Victoria from countries of concern have tested positive.

Face mask rules tightened, PCR tests for travellers and jabbed have to isolate if in contact with an Omicron case

  Face mask rules tightened, PCR tests for travellers and jabbed have to isolate if in contact with an Omicron case Boris Johnson has announced a tightening of coronavirus restrictions during a Downing Street press conference following the detection of the Omicron variant in the UK. © Sky Boris Johnson holding a news conference after two cases of the new Omicron COVID variant were detected in the UK The prime minister warned the Omicron variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, as he announced a strengthening of England's rules, after two infections of the new strain were identified in Nottingham and Brentwood in Essex.

Victoria records 1,007 new Covid cases and three deaths ; NSW records 150 new cases , no deaths; national cabinet meeting brought forward to discuss Omicron response; Patricia Karvelas announced as Fran Kelly’s replacement for RN Breakfast; radical plan to rehome racehorses; last sitting week of 2021.

Austria has detected its first suspected case of the new Omicron coronavirus variant in the Tirol, authorities in the alpine region said late on Saturday. A traveller who returned from South Africa last week tested positive for COVID-19 with indications of the new variant, though confirmation requires "The affected person has, according to his own statements and current knowledge, stayed almost exclusively at home since his return from travel three days ago and currently shows no symptoms." Authorities appealed for further testing by individuals who had entered Austria within the past 14

There are now 300 Victorians being treated for the virus in state hospitals, with 96 in intensive care and 17 on ventilators. Of those in intensive care, 51 have been cleared of the virus.

Mounting concern over the latest strain of the virus prompted Australian authorities to reintroduce a 72-hour isolation period for all international arrivals. State authorities are now considering bringing back a quarantine period of 14 days for all arrivals.

But this has caused anxiety for Victorians now in overseas countries.

Stephen Massa was sent to Papua New Guinea on a business trip. He said he was distressed by the thought of having to endure a longer quarantine and being unable to see his wife, Sandra, and two children, Valentina and Christian, for even longer.

"I'm concerned it could change, it's very much a developing situation. I just want to get back to Australia," he said as he waited for his delayed flight at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby.

"I was going to arrive back Monday morning and go straight home to my family, but now we've got the 72-hour isolation. I can't isolate at home because I've got two young children and my wife there, and all I want to do is kiss and cuddle them," he said.

"I'm just keen to get home because there are very [few] flights into Sydney from Port Moresby, and they're all booked. If I miss this flight now, I will not get out before Christmas."

COVID around the world: Israel to ban foreigners as other nations tighten restrictions on Britons

  COVID around the world: Israel to ban foreigners as other nations tighten restrictions on Britons Global concern about the coronavirus pandemic is growing, with a number of countries detecting confirmed cases of the Omicron variant for the first time. © Associated Press Travel restrictions are being imposed once again as governments suspend flights from southern Africa Travel restrictions are also being imposed once again as governments suspend flights from southern Africa, the region where this strain was first detected. Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 developments around the world.On Saturday, Israel unveiled plans to ban all foreigners from entering the country.

A third case of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in the UK, the Health Security Agency has said. Prof Neil Ferguson - a key government adviser on the pandemic - said "it's likely we'll detect quite a lot more cases in the coming days" because the UK is among the countries to see the largest number of flights from South Africa, where the variant is circulating. Omicron has been detected in a number of other countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong and Israel.

On Saturday he said a suspected Omicron case had been found in a passenger arriving from South Africa in Hesse, home to Frankfurt airport, one of Europe's busiest air hubs. BERLIN, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Germany said on Sunday it had detected a total of three cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant after a suspected infection in the western state of Hesse was confirmed. "The sequencing has confirmed the result - the suspected case which was made public yesterday morning is the Omicron variant," Kai Klose, Social Affairs Minister in the state of Hesse tweeted.

With only 2 per cent of people in Papua New Guinea fully vaccinated, Mr Massa said he feared the Omicron variant could ravage the country's residents if it did prove to be more transmissible than the Delta strain.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said early data suggested the new Omicron coronavirus variant may cause milder symptoms than previous strains of COVID-19 but cautioned that the available data was still limited.

The same early data suggested that Omicron was probably more transmissible but may be no more vaccine-resistant than other strains, Professor Kelly said.

"We're concerned, we're gathering information, and we're taking action appropriately," Professor Kelly told ABC Radio National.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called an emergency national cabinet meeting, expected to be held within the next 48 hours, so that state, territory and federal leaders could discuss the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association who sounded the alarm about the new strain, said it would be another seven to 14 days before it was clear if the strain led to severe illness.

She said while the strain may well be more infectious than Delta, they were not yet seeing any patients with severe symptoms. With her patients now coming up to two weeks since they were first symptomatic, Dr Coetzee said it would soon be clear if Omicron resulted in serious illness.

"We are looking at severity. For us, it will be very important if we start seeing severe patients admitted to hospital," she said.

"We're praying that the clinical picture stays at what we're currently seeing."

More than 48,397 test results were processed on Sunday, while 1813 doses of vaccine were administered in state-run hubs. There are now 11,501 active cases of the virus in Victoria.

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Omicron 3 times more likely to cause reinfection than previous COVID variants: researchers .
South African scientists say the risk of reinfection from the omicron COVID-19 variant is at least three times higher than for any previous variant. In the preliminary study, researchers looked at approximately 2.8 million positive coronavirus infections between March 2020 and Nov. 27, 2021, and 35,670 suspected reinfections were identified. From this retrospective analysis, the group said increases in primary infection were observed following the introduction of both the beta and delta variants, but no corresponding increase was observed in the reinfection hazard.

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