News State NSW News NSW COVID cases stay low, despite four Omicron infections

NSW COVID cases stay low, despite four Omicron infections

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International tourists will be allowed to come back to Australia from February 21. Photo: AAP
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NSW has reported another 179 virus cases and three deaths as health authorities remain on alert for more potential cases of the Omicron variant after four infections were confirmed.

The three deaths come after the state had four consecutive days without any COVID fatalities.

NSW Health said 62,166 tests were conducted in the 24-hours to 8pm on Monday.

Some 94.5 per cent of people aged 16 and older have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 92.4 per cent are fully jabbed.

More than 81 per cent of teens aged 12-15 have had one dose of a vaccine while 76.5 per cent of them have had two doses.

There are 160 people in hospital with COVID-19 and 26 are in intensive care.

Meanwhile, genomic testing has confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in two international travellers who arrived on a Saturday night flight from Doha. Two more people who arrived on Sunday after travelling from southern Africa via Singapore also have the virus.

All travellers arriving in NSW who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, and Malawi in the 14 days prior to arriving in NSW must stay in hotel quarantine for two weeks, in line with Commonwealth measures.

That includes travellers who are fully vaccinated.

In Canberra on Monday, chief medical officer Paul Kelly said more cases of the worrying variant would be detected in Australia.

“We cannot keep this Omicron variant out forever from Australia. Eventually it will be here,” he said.

“Most importantly now, we do what we can to slow down that introduction and all of the measures that have been introduced will assist with that.”

On Monday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said his government would pursue “a proportionate and balanced response to the situation that’s in front of us”.

He said 141 people have been sent to hotel quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the state from the countries of concern.

On Monday, before the number of Omicron cases rose to four, Mr Perrottet said there were no plans to adjust the state’s reopening roadmap.

Restrictions will ease for unvaccinated people on December 15 but the Premier said restrictions could be tailored in response to the variant if required.

If any changes are announced, they will likely come after a special meeting of the national cabinet on Tuesday afternoon.

State Opposition Leader Chris Minns said “rapid decisions will need to be made” but he was “not going to criticise the government for what’s happened over the last 48 hours”.

He urged the Premier to publish any related health advice provided to the government by NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant.

-with AAP