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Covid Australia: NSW records 235 cases as returnees from southern Africa were urged to contact NSW Health

New South Wales records 235 new infections as travelers returning from southern Africa are asked to contact NSW Health as concerns mount over highly mutated Covid variant Omicron

  • NSW recorded 235 Covid cases on Saturday and no further virus-related deaths
  • NSW Health says no cases of the Omicron strain have been identified in the state
  • Returnees from southern Africa in the past 14 days are urged to be tested
  • Travelers who have been to southern Africa are also asked to notify authorities


NSW has added 235 new local infections to its COVID-19 caseload as authorities begin monitoring overseas arrivals for signs of the new and highly mutated Omicron variant.

State hospitals continue to treat 174 coronavirus patients, 26 of whom are in intensive care units and 10 on ventilators.

No further virus-related deaths were reported on Saturday.

NSW added 235 new local infections to its COVID-19 caseload and no further virus-related deaths were reported on Saturday (Photo: Pedestrians along George Street in Sydney’s CBD)

Health officials say Covid testers processed more than 62,000 results in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. Friday.

NSW is now 94.5 percent immunized for a single dose for everyone 16 years of age or older, while 92.3 percent of the same group is fully vaccinated.

Of the age group of 12-15 years, 81.2 percent received one shot and 76.2 percent received both.

NSW is now 94.5 percent immunized for a single dose for everyone 16 years of age or older, while 92.3 percent of the same group is fully vaccinated (Pictured: young woman has received a dose of Covid-19 vaccine)

NSW is now 94.5 percent immunized for a single dose for everyone 16 years of age or older, while 92.3 percent of the same group is fully vaccinated (Pictured: young woman has received a dose of Covid-19 vaccine)

Authorities begin to monitor overseas arrivals for signs of the new and highly mutated Omicron variant (Photo: Travelers arrive at Sydney Airport)

Authorities begin to monitor overseas arrivals for signs of the new and highly mutated Omicron variant (Photo: Travelers arrive at Sydney Airport)

Should NSW reach its target of 95 percent complete coverage by December 15, an early easing of restrictions will lead, according to the state’s roadmap to get out of lockdown.

NSW Health says no cases of the Omicron strain have been identified in the state.

However, travelers who have been to southern Africa in the 14 days prior to arrival, including South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini, are requested to be tested.

Travelers who have been to southern Africa in the 14 days prior to arrival, including South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini, are being asked to be tested (Pictured: A man has a Covid-19 test on Sydney Airport)

Travelers who have been to southern Africa in the 14 days prior to arrival, including South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini, are being asked to be tested (Pictured: A man has a Covid-19 test on Sydney Airport)

Anyone sharing a household with arrivals from the same countries must also isolate until further notice.

Travelers who have been to southern Africa are being asked to notify authorities, who are unlikely to be contacted by text message and reminded of their testing requirements.

Meanwhile, NSW residents have been given two additional vouchers to spend on food and entertainment.

They are the latest installment in the government’s Dine and Discover program, with every adult in NSW getting an extra $25 to spend on dining out and $25 to spend on entertainment.

Travelers who have been to southern Africa are being asked to notify authorities, with those not contacted via SMS likely to be reminded of their testing requirements (Photo: Travelers arriving at Sydney airport)

Travelers who have been to southern Africa are being asked to notify authorities, with those not contacted via SMS likely to be reminded of their testing requirements (Photo: Travelers arriving at Sydney airport)

More than $276 million in vouchers have already been issued by 4.8 million customers statewide during the pandemic, proving to be a lifeline for 15,000 businesses.

Changes were also made on Thursday to the isolation requirements for close contacts in schools, so that students no longer have to be in isolation for seven full days.

Those who are in close contact with a positive case should undergo a PCR test as soon as possible after being informed of exposure.

If they are negative, they may return to school immediately as long as they provide negative Rapid Antigen Home Test results within the next seven days.

Treasurer Matt Kean says the government is “working” on whether parents should pay for the rapid antigen testing and “will make an announcement shortly.”

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