NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole made a bold pledge to residents of the state, despite escalating Omicron fears.
Australian leaders will attend an urgent national cabinet meeting today after the nation has confirmed five Omicron cases, and that number is expected to rise.
So far, four cases have been identified in New South Wales and one in the Northern Territory, all of which are now isolated.
It comes after Australia closed its borders to travelers from nine southern African countries affected by the variant, including South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini and Malawi.
Yesterday, the federal government also “suspended” its plan to ease Australian border restrictions, which were to come into effect tomorrow, for two weeks.
Read on for our live coverage of the Omicron situation.
‘No Lockdown’: NSW’s Bold Wish
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole made the bold pledge that NSW will have “no lockdowns” and “no hotel quarantines” despite growing fears of Omicron.
Appearing on Sunrise this morning Mr Toole called for further “knee jerk reactions” regarding Covid.
âWe are truly a world leader when it comes to the community that comes forward for the vaccine, but I want to make it clear that we shouldn’t be doing knee-jerk reactions or considering blanket bans because we did the right thing. thing and it’s been a tough few yearsâ¦ and we want to see people enjoy Christmas now, âhe said.
He insisted that meant “no lockdown” and “no hotel quarantine” for residents of NSW.
âWe hope to learn to live with the virus and we all know that the most important thing is to get vaccinated,â he said.
“We want all states to stick to the road map, to stick to the plan.”
“It’s probable”: the Australian threat Omicron
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Sonya Bennett said Sunrise Viewers Omicron would likely have spread across the country despite authorities’ efforts to contain it.
âOmicron is of concern as it appears to be spreading rapidly,â Dr Bennett said this morning.
“We don’t know enough about it yet, but this is the kind of information we need to collect over the next few weeks because a virus spreads quickly, there is every chance it will replace Delta by as a dominant variant, so we really need to understand the impact of this.
“It is likely that Australia will see this virus, but we will try to slow the spread again and get more information so that we can make informed decisions.”
A new variant could extend the hated rule
Experts are pushing for Covid recall jabs to be brought forward four months in light of the emerging Omicron threat.
OzSAGE, a group of 80 independent Australian experts, yesterday hosted a panel to discuss Omicron measures, the group calling for recalls, which are currently administered six months after an individual’s second vaccination against Covid, instead of two months later.
But the group also wants other restrictions to be extended, including the controversial face mask requirement and mandatory QR code registration.
“Need more time”: working to stop Omicron
Home Secretary Karen Andrews said Sunrise the Omicron variant was “very different” from Delta and the authorities were scrambling to respond, the situation changing “from hour to hour”.
“The national cabinet will meet this afternoon and review the latest health advice, and let’s face it, that is changing almost hourly as health professionals get more information on this particular variant,” he said. she declared Tuesday morning.
âFrom that, there will be a series of decisions that states may well take with regard to internal internal borders.
âWhat we would say is that the Omicron variant is an unknown to all of us right now here in Australia. We need some time to make sure we understand what the impacts of this particular variant will be here in Australia. C is very different from the Delta variant.
However, she stressed that the two-week “break” on easing border restrictions only applied to skilled migrants, international students and other designated visa holders, and that no Australian citizen, resident permanent or immediate family was not affected.
The national cabinet is expected to meet around 4 p.m. AEDT today.
Huge victory for the pandemic bill that divides Dan
Daniel Andrews has managed to strike a deal that should give the green light to his government’s controversial pandemic bill.
According to Sun Herald, the Andrews government accepted six amendments to get the support needed to pass the legislation.
One of those changes is the addition of a committee that will review appeals to detention imposed by public health orders, removing control from the government or the director of health.
Public health orders will also be reviewed by a special joint parliamentary committee.
The bill will be introduced today in the upper house in Victoria.
Omicron’s “overreaction” has been criticized
Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott denounced the “overreaction” to the Omicron variant, warning that it was hurting businesses.
âThe main concern is overreaction and inconsistent decisions between states, the return to statewide lockdowns and the kinds of things that are not relevant to the risk of this new tension and that we are returning where we were with continuous lockdowns. Stop
start â, she said Sunrise this morning.
âPeople need to know how to plan Christmas and order inventory and they need some certainty. “
Urgent meeting to review quarantine rules
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be joined by prime ministers and chief ministers in an instant national cabinet meeting today to discuss the Omicron crisis.
Potential changes to quarantine rules should be high on the agenda, though NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is pushing for a proportionate response to the new strain, after previously warning of backlash ” knees “.
As of Saturday, all overseas arrivals in NSW, ACT and Victoria must undergo testing and self-isolate for 72 hours in response to Omicron, while most other states and territories require the quarantine of hotels.
However, there is growing speculation that the rules could be tightened even further.
Japan bans all foreign visitors
Japan has followed Israel and Morocco’s lead by closing its border to all international travelers in a desperate attempt to prevent Omicron from entering the country.
The move comes just weeks after Japan eased travel restrictions on short-term business visitors, foreign students and workers earlier this month.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has confirmed that the rule will go into effect from Tuesday.
Poland, Ghana and Norway are among the growing list of countries introducing travel restrictions specifically to tackle Omicron, while Sweden, Canada and Spain have now confirmed cases of the variant on their coasts.