Recently, National Cabinet met to discuss Australia’s Covid-19 retort and concern on new Omicron strain.
According to the update of Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly, WHO has declared the Omicron variant first found in Southern Africa on 24 November 2021 and currently six cases have been detected in Australia. All cases found in Australia have mild symptoms or asymptomatic and are in quarantine.
Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine roll out continue to increase and up to date over 39.2 million Covid-19 vaccines doses have been administrated in Australia. National Cabinet noted that majority of susceptible population have received their Covid-19 vaccines and Australia has sufficient supplies of booster shots available in regarding to vaccine roll out program.
Omicron variant and government response
Professor Paul Kelly further advised that Australia is in the initial stage of understanding the new Omicron variant, and at this stage there’s inadequate evidence that vaccines and treatments are less effective against Omicron than other variants. Hence, there’s no clear evidence at this stage that Omicron is a more acute disease.
Therefore, the Commonwealth and states have already acted on medical advice to implement travel restrictions, revised quarantine, and home isolation requirements. The Commonwealth has implemented a temporary travel ban on non-citizens from Southern Africa entering to Australia and Australians return from Southern Africa countries are required to undergo 14 days quarantine under state or territory public health requirements.
Further the Commonwealth has postponed the reopening to international skilled and student visa cohorts and humanitarian visa holders from 1 December up until 15 December as these are temporary precautions to safeguard the national boarders of Australia.
Though, existing plans will continue for Australians, permanent residents, immediate family including parents and other exempt visa holders including travelers through the New Zealand and Singapore safe travel zones and Pacific Labor Scheme participants.
Isn’t it exciting to hear that the National Cabinet agreed that the Commonwealth and the state governments will continue to pursue a suppression strategy, stating the objective is to limit the rate of Omicron invasions into Australia, rather than going back to lock downs?