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  03 Dec 2021, 10:32

Australia reports first locally transmitted Omicron case

SYDNEY, Dec 3, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Australia on Friday reported a student
with no history of foreign travel had tested positive for the Covid-19
Omicron variant, the country's first detected case of community transmission.

  The case, detected in the country's largest city Sydney, comes despite a
ban on non-citizens entering the country and restrictions on flights from
southern Africa, where the variant was first detected.

  New South Wales Health said "the case has no overseas travel history or
links to people with overseas travel history" but stressed that further
investigations and contact tracing were underway.

  Australia has detected nine other Omicron cases, but all were detected in
incoming travellers.

  The latest case raises the possibility that Omicron may already be
spreading more widely in the community.

  The student's Regents Park Christian School in the west of Sydney has been
closed and the family is said to be in quarantine.

  Australia currently records around 2,000 Covid cases a day.

  Besides vaccinations, the virus' spread has been limited by two years of
border closures, lockdowns, aggressive testing and tracing as well as local
travel bans.

  Authorities have expressed confidence that with 87 percent of people over
16 years old vaccinated, the country is well placed to deal with the new
variant.

  Hospitalisation rates are currently low, and the pandemic death toll stands
at 2,021.

  The severity of Omicron is not yet known and it is also unclear whether it
could render existing vaccines less effective.

  But there are concerns the variant could be more transmissible than the
dominant Delta strain.

 

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