New Omicron infections have been confirmed in Canberra and Sydney, with a cluster prompting an entire school to be dismissed for the year.
Health authorities in both NSW and the ACT are scrambling to identify the sources of new Omicron variant cases, with a school outbreak prompting every single class to be dismissed for the year.
NSW Health late on Friday confirmed Regents Park Christian School in western Sydney had two more cases confirmed as the new Covid-19 strain, on top of one confirmed previously.
The cluster now has 13 Covid-19 cases in total.
“Urgent genome testing is underway on a further 10 cases,” NSW Health said in a statement.
“NSW Health is urgently investigating the source of infection for this cluster.
“The whole school K-12 has now been dismissed for the year.
“All students and staff have been identified as close contacts.”
NSW Health also said the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym in Villawood had been visited by confirmed Omicron cases on Saturday from 9am to 4.30pm.
“Anyone who attended this venue at the times listed is a close contact who must immediately get tested and isolate,” NSW Health said.
At the same time, ACT Health confirmed a single Omicron case in the territory, saying it was not yet known if the infection was acquired there or in NSW.
The individual, who tested positive on Wednesday, is fully vaccinated and had not travelled overseas.
Authorities listed four casual contact sites across Canberra and urged anyone who was at these locations to fill out a contact declaration form.
The locations are:
- Next Gen Canberra – Indoor Pool area, 1 Riggall Place, Lyneham, December 29, 5:15pm to 6:45pm
- The Knox Made in Watson, 13 Watson Place, Watson, December 30, 9am to 10am
- Supabarn, 34-38 Eyre Street, Kingston, December 30, 4.20pm to 4.50pm
- Blue Gum Community School – Spotted Bark End of Year Celebration – School Hall, 114 Maitland St, Hackett, December 30, 4.30pm to 6.30pm
In addition in NSW, two further Omicron cases have been identified in returned travellers who are family members of a case confirmed on Thursday.
The family arrived on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney on November 23 and are isolating.
“These travellers have not been in southern Africa and NSW Health is concerned transmission may have occurred on this flight,” NSW Health said.
Earlier, NSW recorded 337 new cases of Covid-19 and no new deaths, with 140 people in hospital, including 25 in intensive care.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said transmission was always a concern but stressed there was no clarity whether the Omicron variant would be as devastating as Delta.
He said the “modest increase” in case numbers was not concerning because hospitals were not being inundated with severe cases.
“People are having a free life, working jobs, making money and the quality of life is better,” he said.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the key priority in NSW was keeping residents safe.
“We would have expected numbers to be higher after opening up our state … we lead the country on vaccinations,” he said.
Of the NSW population aged 16 and over, 94.6 per cent have had one jab, while 92.6 are fully vaccinated.
Up to 300 tests from people who had been to South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini and Malawi were being retested as an “extra precaution”, Mr Hazzard said on Wednesday.
Originally published as Western Sydney school and ACT confirm new Omicron Covid-19 infections
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