Greg Hunt: Government’s response to the Omicron COVID variant
The Omicron strain of COVID has hit Australian shores with two cases in NSW confirmed and one in the Northern Territory.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for an urgent National Cabinet meeting to discuss the way forward.
Greg Hunt, Federal Health Minister, told Jim Wilson Australia is prepared for this with high vaccination numbers.
“The advice of Professor Paul Kelly and Brendan Murphy is at this stage there are no signs of the vaccines being ineffective (for this strain) but we will monitor it,” he said.
“Very interestingly there are some early emerging yet to be confirmed signs that it might be a mild strain but it is early days.
“But we have taken action … we have stopped the flights from the nine Southern countries, South Africa as well as the eight neighboring countries, we have sadly had to ban non-citizens arriving for the time being, requiring Australian citizens who have been in those areas those same nine countries to undertake quarantine for 14 days and have applied this for people who have already returned but have been in those Southern African countries.
“We are in a vastly different position from the 1st of February 2020 when we had to close the border with China, we know what this disease is, we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, one of the most recently vaccinated populations and after Israel we are one of the first nations in the world to commence a whole of country booster program.”
Hunt confirmed the booster shots are readily available.
“We have large volumes that are available,” he told Jim Wilson.
“We can meet all the demand for boosters that exist at the moment.
“We can meet it easily and we are prepared for the ramp up when people come to their six months and if that was brought forward we can do that.”
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