Port Phillip prison guard who refused to get a shot dies of Covid

By Sam McPhee for Daily Mail Australia

Scott Morrison prepared a national cabinet meeting on the Omicron variant on Tuesday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for calm over the new Omicron variant as he reveals that experts believe it could be “even less serious” than Delta.

Morrison called Kyle and Jackie O’s radio show Monday morning to give the Australian public an update on the new Covid mutation, as he scrambles to convene a national emergency cabinet meeting.

“There is nothing to indicate that the impact is more serious. There is nothing to indicate that the vaccines have no effect on it,” he said.

“There are indications that it may even be less bad.”

Morrison says only people from New Zealand and Singapore are currently allowed to enter the country, except for Australians’ immediate family, and said the country remained protected from the virus.

“In Victoria they have over 1,000 cases a day, but the health system is fine. If we stay calm, make good decisions and react quickly,” he said.

Let’s not be alarmed by this, Australia has done extremely well to be vaccinated. Australia is doing great and we will continue to do well if we stay sensible and balanced.”

He told Today that mutated variants are nothing new and that the country was well equipped to deal with any Omicron outbreak.

“It’s not the first we’ve had. We have had 13 variants of care. I think it’s important that we stay calm. Australia is 86.7% vaccinated,” he told the program.

“Our hospital system is holding up. Now, that’s the main thing here. It’s no longer about cases and how we deal with COVID.

“It’s about the severity of the disease that the people have and how the public hospital system and the health system are doing. It’s managing very strongly.’

The prime minister confirmed that he will meet state prime ministers over the next 36 hours as they devise a plan for the ongoing Omicron situation.

‘With this variant, we know that it can be more transferable. But we also know that it turns out to be less serious. So we’re taking this one step at a time,” said Mr Morrison.

NSW Health confirmed on Sunday that two travelers who landed in Sydney from South Africa on Saturday night were infected with the new strain and two more were being tested.

NSW, Victoria and the ACT have temporarily re-imposed a 72-hour self-isolation requirement for all international arrivals.

South Australia and Western Australia have tightened border restrictions as other prime ministers across the country also begin to consider tougher controls.

Scientists are racing against time to answer three essential questions about the variant that doctors say caused ‘unusual’ symptoms, such as Scott Morrison and Australian business leaders to calm down.

The Australian Health Protection chief committee, which gave the prime minister an emergency briefing on Sunday night, is struggling to determine how transmissible Omicron is, whether it is more serious than other strains and whether it is vaccine resistant.

Australia closed its international borders to nine African countries where the species first appeared earlier this month.

Morrison said after his meeting on Sunday: ‘We need to be very vigilant about the further evidence that becomes available and the expert medical advice.

“The goal is to ensure that our public hospitals and health systems can cope with this virus so that we can live with the virus.”