Federal government ‘will not hesitate’ to take further action on Omicron spread if needed
The federal Health Minister has played down concerns surrounding a new COVID-19 variant.
The Prime Minister is convening a National Security Committee meeting today to discuss Australia’s measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant as we learn more about the strain.
Australia has already suspended flights from nine countries in southern Africa and temporarily banned non-citizens who have been in those countries from entering.
Returning citizens are allowed to return, but must undertake a 14-day quarantine period.
Despite this, Greg Hunt says there’s no cause for panic, as Australia is one of the most highly vaccinated nations in the world.
At this stage, there is no signs the variant will breach the integrity of Australia’s vaccine rollout, he said.
“We will not hesitate to take additional steps if the medical evidence indicates more is required.
“We are well-prepared and we are in, I think, the best scientific hands in the world.”
Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer and infectious diseases expert Dr Nick Coatsworth told Deborah Knight confirmation of the vaccines’ effectiveness against Omicron is imminent.
“We will have some early laboratory studies in the coming days, where we actually look at the effect of this new virus … and put it with the blood of people who have been vaccinated.
“That can actually tell us whether their antibodies are having an expected effect against the virus.
“We’ll start to get that data really within the next few days, a week at the latest.”
Press PLAY below to hear Dr Coatsworth’s message in full
Press PLAY below to watch the Health Minister’s press conference in full
Image: Nine News