Coronavirus variant detected in student in western Sydney, who has no overseas travel history, says official
ANKARA, Dec 3 (AA): Australia on Friday confirmed its first community transmission of the new COVID-19 omicron variant in a student in the country’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW).
“NSW Health can confirm one further case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant of concern, bringing the total number of cases in NSW to nine,” said the state’s Health Ministry in a statement.
The school in western Sydney which the student attended was closed immediately after the case was confirmed.
The ministry said the student has no overseas travel history indicating that “the virus may have been acquired in the community.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard expressed concern over the latest development as the state is already reeling from the effects of the delta variant.
“I think transmission is always a concern but we again need to keep it in perspective at the moment,” ABC News quoted Hazzard as saying.
He said so far there was not much clarity about how dangerous the omicron variant is.
On Sunday, Australia confirmed its first two cases of omicron in passengers who arrived in Sydney from South Africa via Doha.
Australia is one of several countries that has closed its borders to those coming from over half a dozen southern African nations, namely South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi, and Mozambique, over fears of the new variant.
Last week, South African scientists announced that they had discovered the omicron variant, which has several mutations that may carry the risk of reinfection. The same variant was also detected in neighboring Botswana, as well as Hong Kong.