COVID-19: New strain ‘Omicrom’ – Australia, Europe, UK, USA & close borders with Southern African states
Following the actions of Europe the UK and the USA, Australia’s federal government has announced all flights from 9 southern African countries suspected of being the home of the new coronavirus strain, Omicron, are suspended for a fortnight.
The countries identified include South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.
There are currently no known cases of the Omicron variant in Australia, and this ban hopes to keep it that way.
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Anyone arriving from those countries, or who has spent time in those countries in the last 14 days will need to go into quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Australia, says Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Whether that is government supervised quarantine, or quarantine at home will be the decision of each state.
WHO names new strain
The World Health Organisation WHO has announced a new strain of COVID-19 with 32 changes in the ‘spike’ protein, traced to southern African states has emerged, with the probable name of ‘Omicrom’.
Although yet to be confirmed, the fear is that the mutated virus is either more infectious, more lethal, more difficult to detect, more deadly or all of those combined. There are already signs that the variant is more difficult to detect, with positive test results occurring later than with the Delta variant.
Britain, Europe, the United Kingdom and the US have closed their borders to arrivals from Southern African states including, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The SMH is reporting that our Prime Minister Scovid, Health Minister Greg Hunt and others met this morning, and are expected to announce similar bans today.
Share prices of travel-related companies in the USA and Europe have already dropped, including Qantas which is back down to AU$5.
I’ll update this if we get an announcement about changes to Australian borders.