Covid: Four cases of Omicron variant confirmed in Sydney

Four people have now been diagnosed with the new Covid variant in Sydney, but the Premier has warned against a ‘kneejerk’ reaction.

Two more overseas travellers who arrived in NSW have been infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19, taking the total number of cases in the state to four.

Both passengers arrived in Sydney from southern Africa on Singapore Airlines flight SQ211 on Sunday and genomic testing confirmed their diagnosis.

NSW Health said both people were fully vaccinated and isolating in Special Health Accommodation.

Everyone on the flight is considered a close contact and must get tested immediately then isolate for 14 days regardless of their vaccination status.

“NSW Health is contacting all passengers and flight crew to advise them of isolation requirements,” the department said in a statement on Monday.

Authorities on Sunday confirmed two other returned travellers had tested positive for Omicron upon their arrival in Sydney – the first known cases of the variant in Australia.

Premier Dominic Perrottet earlier on Monday said 141 people from nine southern African countries hit by the variant had arrived in NSW in the past 24 hours and were in quarantine.

The new strain is circulating in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini and Malawi.

Mr Perrottet said Omicron didn’t require a “kneejerk” reaction in Australia and ultimately people would need to learn to live alongside the virus and different variants.

“We want to rejoin the world. There are major challenges facing the state,” he told reporters.

“There is a major labour shortage. There are many families and many businesses that depend on international tourism.

“What is most important is that as we assess the situation, we understand the health impacts and we make the decisions accordingly that are in the best interest of the people of NSW.”

The state recorded 150 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths on Monday.

There are 170 people in hospital with the virus and 25 in intensive care.

Of the over 16 population, 94.5 per cent have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and 92.4 per cent have had at least one shot.

Mr Perrottet reiterated his government would focus on keeping hospitalisations low and vaccination rates high rather than case numbers.

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