President of AMA SA, Dr. Michelle Atchison, urged the state government to “press pause” at border crossings until health authorities have a clearer picture of the risk posed by Omicron.
“What we are saying is to press pause on it, give us some time, let the medical profession understand what is happening with Omicron,” said Dr. Atchison.
There are currently no confirmed cases of the new variant in South Australia, but several cases have been discovered in recent arrivals to NSW and the Northern Territory via flights from southern Africa.
Prime Minister Steven Marshall called for restraint, saying no decision on Southern Australia’s borders will be taken until after the National Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“Let’s just wait and see what information we can gather over the next 24, 48 hours,” Mr Marshall urged.
“However, we know it is very transferable, so tomorrow we will have more information.
“I hope we can stick to our normal schedule, but we have to listen to the experts.”
Western Australia has already reclassified South Australia as “low risk”, meaning that arriving travelers must complete a 14-day self-quarantine.
“I would like to stress that at present there is no evidence of societal disruption in South Australia, but based on the Chief Health Officer’s updated risk assessment, we have decided to upgrade our controlled border arrangements with South Australia as a precautionary measure.” WA Premier Mark McGowan said.
“As we have done during this pandemic, we act on the most up-to-date health advice.
“Over the last 24 hours, we’ve seen reports of a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, found in parts of the world, including southern Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
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“These reports are worrying and reinforce the need to keep Western Australia’s strong border controls and hotel quarantine system in place to keep WA safe – as we have done for the past 18 months.”