Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

None of the travelers who arrived in Victoria from countries of concern have so far tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as two clusters linked to recent anti-mandate protests grow.

Forty people have been tested and ordered to isolate after arriving from southern Africa before new border rules were introduced.

The Ministry of Health said only negative results had been received so far.

Genomic sequencing results revealed one person who had been in a problem country and was diagnosed with coronavirus in New South Wales after spending time in Victoria while contagious does not have the Omicron variant.

The health department said the person was fully vaccinated and it would provide new advice to the case’s close contacts, who had been instructed to isolate themselves for 14 days.

Cluster linked to vaccine mandate protest

Authorities have revealed that 19 COVID cases have been linked to anti-vaccination mandate meetings in the Melbourne CBD.

One of the cases had been admitted to the hospital for treatment.

The Ministry of Health said 16 of the cases were unvaccinated, two had received a dose and one was fully vaccinated.

One of the cases attended a social gathering before developing symptoms.

It triggered a new cluster, which has reached 10 cases so far, the department said.

Victoria has registered 1,007 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and three deaths as the state tightens its quarantine rules in response to the proliferation of the Omicron variant.

There are now 11,501 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 506 people have died during the state’s current Delta outbreak.

The new cases were identified from 48,397 test results received on Sunday.

The 10 local government areas with the highest number of new cases are Casey, Hume, Wyndham, Brimbank, Melton, Whittlesea, Port Phillip, Greater Geelong, Darebin and Moreland.

There are 300 COVID-19 patients in Victorian hospitals, with 45 active cases in the intensive care unit and 17 patients in the ventilator.

The Ministry of Health said a further 51 people were in the intensive care unit but that their COVID infection had disappeared.

The number of hospitalizations marks an increase compared to yesterday, but maintains a general stabilization in recent days together with case figures.

The quarantine for international arrivals is tightened

Over the weekend, authorities announced that all overseas arrivals to Victoria and their household contacts would be required to isolate the home or adequate accommodation for 72 hours, even if they were previously entitled to quarantine-free travel.

The changes, which came into force from kl. 23:59 on Saturday, also mandates 14-day hotel quarantine for all arriving from nine South African countries where the variant of concern was first identified.

On Sunday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said that although the discovery of the Omicron variant justified the additional measures, it did not put Victoria “back to square one in any way”.

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What COVID-19 travel insurance does not cover you for(Emilia Terzon)

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