Australia Omicron variant spreading, testing reopening plan | WSAU News / Talk 550 AM · 99.9 FM

By Lidia Kelly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Omicron coronavirus variant spread in Australia on Saturday, testing a plan to reopen the economy as a cluster in Sydney rose to 13 cases and one infection was suspected in the state of Queensland.

Federal authorities are pursuing a plan to reopen the economy in the hopes that the new variant will be lighter than previous variants, but some state and territory governments have already moved ahead. tighten their domestic border controls.

Australia reported its first community transmission of Omicron on Friday at a Sydney school. Authorities are investigating the source.

Kerry Chant, chief medical officer for New South Wales, where the capital Sydney is located, said there would be more Omicron cases by the end of the week as more test results became available.

Queensland authorities say the state suspects the first case of Omicron in a person from South Africa and that genome sequencing is ongoing.

“The public health unit has ruled out that it’s Delta but we can’t confirm if it’s Omicron yet,” said State Health Minister Yvette D’Ath. “But it’s being treated as if it were.”

The Australian Capital Territory, home to Canberra, has been warned of the possibility of further spread after one of its new coronavirus cases was found to be closely related to the Territory’s first Omicron case. territory was reported on Friday.

Authorities in South Australia said on Saturday that people arriving from New South Wales, Victoria and the capital territory would be screened. The state reopened its internal borders just days ago, for the first time in months.

Despite facing multiple outbreaks this year, resulting in months of closures in Sydney and Melbourne – Australia’s largest cities – the country has only about 834 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7 .9 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, part of the impact on many other developed countries.

Australia has a total of just under 215,000 cases and 2,042 deaths.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard) Australia Omicron variant spreading, testing reopening plan | WSAU News / Talk 550 AM · 99.9 FM

Dais Johnston

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