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Scott Morrison Urges States To Crack On With Reopening Plans Amid Omicron Variant

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Scott Morrison Urges States To Crack On With Reopening Plans Amid Omicron Variant

Scott Morrison has used a National Cabinet meeting to urge state and territory leaders not to launch knee-jerk reactions over the Omicron variant.

The Prime Minister said lockdowns should be avoided until more is known about the new strain of the coronavirus.

He encouraged the Premiers and Chief Ministers to stick to their reopening plans ahead of Christmas unless there is a big update from health authorities.

"We're not going back to lockdowns, none of us want that," he said.

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"None of us want to go back to those long quarantines and all of those sorts of issues, and the way you protect against that, what we did last night, was protecting against that by having a sensible pause."

He also urged leaders not to get 'spooked' by Omicron and added: "I look forward to everybody coming together for Christmas and New Year's and the summer holidays."

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The Australian government was meant to welcome international students and other visa holders from today (December 1), however that was pushed back by two weeks.

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Mr Morrison said that decision was 'prudent and temporary' and he's hoping Omicron will 'prove to be a more moderate form of the virus'.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said they will need two weeks of hard, real-world data before they're able to make a proper assessment of the new virus strain.

New South Wales will now require all people flying in from overseas to complete a PCR Covid-19 test on the sixth day after they arrive.

Travellers will also have to quarantine for 72 hours to ensure authorities are able to catch any potential new cases.

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The state has recorded five cases of the Omicron variant, with one of those being in the community.

Victoria will require all arrivals to take a PCR test between day five and seven after completing their three-day quarantine.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said this new variant proves we aren't saying goodbye to coronavirus just yet.

She told parliament: "It's very early days and the world is yet to have a complete understanding of it, we need to know more about it.

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"[The two-week pause] was not a decision the government took lightly...we took this decision based on the health advice."

Health Minister Greg Hunt added: "It's very early days and the world is yet to have a complete understanding of it.

"All of this is done on the presumption that we will recommence from December 15, but medical advice will guide our decision making throughout."

Featured Image Credit: Ian Forsyth/Pool via REUTERS

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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