2LT Local News

Australia’s New South Wales reports possible community Omicron case

Dec 6, 2021

SYDNEY, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) confirmed its ninth case of the Omicron variant on Friday, which aroused concern over possible community transmission of the highly infectious new strain.

The new case is a student at a local school in western Sydney with “no overseas travel history or links to people with overseas travel history,” raising concern that the virus may have been acquired in the community, according to the health department.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said investigations are still ongoing into whether it was a confirmed locally acquired case of the Omicron variant or not.

Senior students of the school have been dismissed for the year, and contact tracing and further investigations are underway.

Meanwhile, another two students were also under investigation to see if they were infected with the new variant, but Hazzard urged residents to remain “cautious” and not to be too worried.

“I think transmission is always a concern, but we also need to just keep it in perspective at the moment,” he said. “Worldwide, there’s no clarity around whether or not this particular variant is going to cause us anywhere near the problems that the earlier variants caused.”

“We’re not seeing people suddenly being rushed to hospital. What we’re seeing is people who are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, generally.”

The state health department also reported 337 COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest tally in about six weeks.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he always expected case numbers to be higher, but the government has not made changes to the plan to further ease restrictions on Dec. 15.

“I think what is most important is that (we) focus more, as the health minister has said, on hospitalizations and ICU presentations. They are the numbers that matter,” he said.