Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

news, latest news, COVID-19, coronavirus, Omicron, South Africa, pandemic, vaccination, border closures

ACT Health is contacting “a small number” of people who may have been in one of nine South African countries subject to restrictions, as NSW health authorities confirm that two overseas travelers to Sydney were infected with the new Omicron variant of concern. The territory’s health authorities said on Sunday evening that they had identified people who may have been in one of the countries and that they contacted them to understand their movements before entering Australia and to make sure they understood their requirements in according to the latest public health guidelines. No case of the new variant of concern has been identified in the country’s capital on Sunday night. The ACT health authorities are closely monitoring the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant abroad as they move to prevent its spread to Canberra. The ACT government is reintroducing stricter quarantine rules for international arrivals in response to the Omicron tribe after it was first identified in southern Africa. Meanwhile, the territory registered seven new cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours until 8pm Saturday. ACT Health said Sunday that seven people were hospitalized with COVID-19, five of whom were on intensive care, while four needed ventilation. There are 162 active COVID cases, while the number associated with this outbreak is now 1993. The percentage of eligible people now fully vaccinated reached 97.6 percent on Friday, with the next update of vaccination statistics to wait on Monday. ACT Health said in a written statement late Saturday night that no case of the Omicron variant had been identified in the area. All international arrivals to ACT after kl. 23.59 on Saturday will be quarantined for three days, in a move that the health authorities said was cautious. Anyone in the ACT who has been to South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Seychelles, Malawi, Namibia or Eswatini within the last 14 days must have a PCR test for COVID-19 and be quarantined immediately. Persons who have spent time in these countries within the last 14 days must be quarantined at their place of residence or residence until two weeks have elapsed since they were last in the country indicated. NSW Health confirmed on Sunday that acute genomic tests showed that two overseas travelers arriving in Sydney from southern Africa on Saturday night had the Omicron variant. The two positive cases, which were asymptomatic, are isolated in special health homes. Both people are fully vaccinated. The Northern Territory has two new COVID-19 cases, including an arrival on a return flight from South Africa, where the new and highly mutated Omicron variant has been discovered. Authorities do not yet have a genomic sequencing relative to the passenger’s strain of infection. NSW has registered 185 local infections COVID-19, but no further virus-related deaths. State hospitals continue to treat 165 coronavirus patients, 24 of them in intensive care units, and nine require ventilation. Health authorities say COVID testers processed more than 54,000 results in 24 hours to 8pm Saturday. NSW is now 94.5 percent single-dose immunized for anyone 16 years of age or older, while 92.4 percent of the same group are fully vaccinated. Victoria has registered 1,061 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and four more virus-related deaths. Victoria continues to handle more than 11,330 active cases. There are 283 COVID patients in state hospitals, of which 44 in intensive care and 20 in need of ventilation. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, sign up here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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