Fifth Omicron COVID-19 case in NSW visited venues in Sydney and Central Coast

NSW Health has confirmed a woman in her 30s who spent time in Sydney and the Central Coast has been infected with the new variant.

People wearing PPE arriving at Sydney International Airport in Sydney, Monday, 29 November, 2021.

People wearing PPE arriving at Sydney International Airport in Sydney, Monday, 29 November, 2021. Source: AAP

A woman in her 30s who recently arrived in New South Wales from southern Africa has been confirmed as the state's fifth case of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, as new quarantine measures and increased fines for non-compliance are announced.

NSW Health on Tuesday afternoon confirmed the fully-vaccinated traveller, who arrived in Sydney on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney last Thursday, has tested positive for the new variant.

Everyone on the flight is considered a close contact and should get tested immediately for COVID-19 and isolate for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

The woman visited supermarkets, shopping centres, and restaurants in Sydney and the Central Coast, where she is now isolating.

Anyone who attended these venues has been deemed a casual contact, and must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received. 

NSW Health also revealed two more travellers from the QR908 flight have been confirmed as COVID-19 cases.

Neither traveller spent time in southern Africa, and genomic testing is underway to determine if they have been infected with the Omicron variant.

Genomic testing is also underway into a COVID-19 case now in Broken Hill that arrived on the same flight, though initial results suggest it's unlikely they have been infected with the Omicron variant.

Later on Tuesday afternoon, the NSW government announced it would on Wednesday morning introduce additional quarantine measures and bigger fines for those who don't comply with them.

Travellers arriving in NSW who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini and Malawi in the 14 day period before their arrival must enter hotel quarantine, irrespective of vaccination status.

All other overseas travellers must complete a PCR test and isolate for 72 hours at a nominated address, and will only be able to exit if they have received a negative result. After exiting isolation, they must complete another PCR test on day six after arrival.

Fines for non-compliance with the new requirements will increase to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for corporations.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
Source: AAP

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the measures were a necessary precaution.

“We are well prepared here in NSW but it is important we take the necessary steps to protect the community and adopt measures that will allow us to learn to live with COVID,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We will continue to make any necessary changes as we receive updated information. Our overriding message, as always, is to continue to get vaccinated. It is still the best way to protect yourself and your family.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said booster shots were still an important part of staying safe.

“If you are eligible for a booster, please make the booking and get the jab. As we continue to reopen and avoid lockdowns, booster shots are our best defence against what can be a deadly virus,” Mr Hazzard said.

Earlier on Tuesday, NSW Health reported 179 cases of the virus and three new fatalities, which came after the state recorded four consecutive days of no COVID-19 deaths.

The man in his 40s, the man in his 50s and the woman in her 60s had all received one dose of a vaccine.

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 ICU.

On Monday evening it was announced Australia's easing of international border restrictions for visa holders would be paused for two weeks as the government seeks more information about Omicron.

It comes as Victoria recorded another 918 new COVID-19 infections and six deaths.

The new deaths of people aged in their 50s, 70s, 80s and 90s bring the total number in Victoria since the pandemic began to 1,331.

The state is now managing 11,417 active COVID-19 cases, none of which are of the Omicron variant.

There are 305 COVID patients in the state's hospitals, 41 of them are actively infected with the virus in intensive care and 19 requiring ventilation.

The seven-day hospitalisation average is 298.

Virus testers processed 45,658 results on Monday, while 3,726 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in state-run hubs.

There's now 91 per cent of Victorians aged over 12 fully vaccinated.

Additional quarantine measures mirroring those in NSW have also been announced, though travellers exiting isolation will need to provide a negative PCR test between days five and seven after arrival, rather than day six.

Over in the ACT, six new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded, bringing the total number of active cases to 144.

There are eight people in hospital, with four of them in intensive care and ventilated.

The Northern Territory has detected no new COVID-19 infections, but health restrictions remain in force across multiple Indigenous communities.

The current outbreak remains at 58 cases.

Queensland, meanwhile, will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone aged over 16 who enters a school, childcare centre, prison or airport for work in the state.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says teachers, workers, guards, volunteers, cleaners and maintenance workers must have had one dose by 17 December and be fully vaccinated by 23 January to enter any "high-risk settings".

She says the measures are aimed at protecting children aged under 12 who aren't yet eligible for vaccines from the virus as the state eases restrictions later this year.

"We are taking strong action to protect the vulnerable in Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Tuesday morning.

The latest figures show 86.27 per cent of Queenslanders have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 76.08 per cent are fully vaccinated.

With AAP.


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Published 30 November 2021 at 9:24am, updated 30 November 2021 at 6:21pm
By Evan Young
Source: SBS News