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Australia detects 2 cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant

Newly emerged variant detected in 2 passengers arriving in Sydney from South Africa, say New South Wales health officials

Recep Sakar   | 28.11.2021
Australia detects 2 cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant

MELBOURNE, Australia

Australia on Sunday announced that two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, recently detected in South Africa, were registered in the country.

Health officials in the country's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), announced that the newly emerged variant was detected in two unnamed passengers who arrived in Sydney from South Africa via Doha.

Officials also said the two passengers were fully vaccinated and did not show symptoms of the disease.

A total of 12 passengers who came from South Africa on the same plane have been quarantined despite their negative coronavirus test results, they added.

The other 260 passengers and crew were advised to self-isolate.

Australia is one of several countries that has closed its borders to those coming from over half a dozen Southern African nations, namely South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi, and Mozambique, over fears of the new variant.

This week, South African scientists announced that they had discovered the Omicron variant, which has several mutations that may carry the risk of reinfection. The same variant was also detected in neighboring Botswana, as well as Hong Kong, and was first detected on Nov. 12-22 before being announced on Thursday.

On Friday, the World Health Organization declared the strain a "variant of concern," naming it Omicron.​​​​​​​

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