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Australia confirms two cases of new COVID-19 variant

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Australian health officials on Sunday confirmed two cases of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

The Eastern State of New South Wales’ Health Authority said in a statement its officials conducted urgent genomic testing and confirmed the new strain was present in two passengers who arrived in Sydney from Southern Africa on Saturday.

The statement read: “Both passengers came from southern Africa and arrived in Australia on a Qatar Airways flight via Doha.

“They tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving, leading to an urgent analysis for possible infection by the heavily mutated Omicron strain.

“The two positive cases, who were asymptomatic, are in isolation in the special health accommodation. Both people are fully vaccinated.

READ ALSO: Australia fines Christ Embassy $35,000 for breaking COVID-19 lockdown protocols

“Another 12 passengers from Southern Africa in the same flight did not test positive for COVID-19 but have been placed in quarantine.

“About 260 passengers and crew on the plane have also been told to isolate.”

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