New COVID-19 mutants emerging from southern Africa will not immediately affect Australia’s plans to resume after rolling down the blockade, the state’s health minister said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said this was due to the direct “very light traffic” from South Africa and the high immunization rates in Australia. The last return flight from South Africa arrived last week and those people were quarantined at the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory.
But he said Australia was flexible and responsible because it was when the delta occurred in India that the flight was suspended.
“We are flexible, as always, and if the medical advice is that we need to change, we don’t hesitate,” he said. I told reporters Friday.
Australian authorities are working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and international partners to investigate whether it is a “major new variant,” Hunt said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia is monitoring all new variants in real time and paying attention to how other countries react.
But with respect to the new B1 1529 variant, he Press conference In South Australia, “We recommend that this is under investigation and not a variant of concern, but it is subject to change.”
Temporarily as the European Union and the United Kingdom Ban flights Morrison said vaccination from seven African countries is the best precaution to eliminate new variants.
WHO has named the latest variant Omicron. It first appeared in Botswana and was detected in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium.
There are twice as many mutations as the delta mutants that caused the third wave of outbreaks and blockades in Australia this year.
“I don’t think it’s time to break the alarm clock, but I’ve been worried since Delta,” Brendan Crabb, director of the Burnett Institute, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“For us in Australia and around the world, increased vigilance and attention is appropriate.”
Crabb explained that this new strain “has many mutations that cause sharp breath inhalation, which I must say.”
He told Omicron that vaccination and infection control measures such as wearing protective masks and contact tracing are paramount.
Approximately 86% of Australians over the age of 16 receive double doses.
The federal government has sent letters to all households in the country, urging people to take booster shots six months after being given twice.