Australian on Saturday imposed new restrictions on individuals who have been in 9 southern African international locations, as the brand new Omicron variant of COVID-19 raises issues a few additional wave of the pandemic.
The international locations are South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.
Effective instantly, the federal government will ban non-citizens who’ve been in these international locations from coming into and would require supervised 14-day quarantines for Australian residents and their dependents coming back from the international locations, stated Health Minister Greg Hunt.
These restrictions additionally apply to folks akin to worldwide college students and expert migrants arriving from international locations with which Australia has journey bubbles, who’ve been in any of the 9 international locations throughout the previous 14 days.
“If the medical evidence shows that further actions are required, we will not hesitate to take them. And that may involve strengthening or expanding the restrictions,” he stated.
Anyone who has already arrived in Australia and who has been in any of these international locations throughout the previous 14 days should instantly isolate and be examined.
The Australian authorities may even droop all flights from the 9 southern African international locations for 2 weeks.
Twenty travellers from South Africa are in quarantine within the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs facility, 19 of whom have returned unfavourable coronavirus exams. It will not be but recognized if the one constructive check result’s the Omicron variant, Hunt stated.
The discovery of the variant – which has a spike protein dramatically totally different from the one which current vaccines are primarily based on – triggered world alarm on Friday as international locations rushed to droop journey from southern Africa and inventory markets suffered their largest falls in additional than a 12 months.
Australia early this month eased its worldwide border restrictions for the primary time in the course of the pandemic permitting totally vaccinated residents to return to the nation with out quarantine after larger vaccination ranges.
Australia had largely stamped out infections for many of this 12 months till an outbreak of the extremely infectious Delta variant in late June unfold quickly throughout its east. About 205,000 circumstances and 1,985 deaths have been recorded to this point, decrease than many different international locations within the developed world.
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