Queensland records first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19

Queensland has recorded its first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.A Nigerian man, who tested positive while in hotel quarantine in Cairns a few days ago, has been confirmed as a positive case of the new variant.The man flew into Queensland on Jetstar flight JQ950 from Sydney to Cairns on Friday, December 3, and everyone on that flight has now been deemed a close contact.Another man, from South Africa, has also tested positive for Omicron in Brisbane, however health authorities say there are now two different lineages of the variant.Queensland COVID-19 snapshotReported in the past 24 hours:Locally acquired cases: 0Other sources: 2Tests: 11,056Queensland’s vaccine rollout (percentage of those aged 16+):First dose: 87.5 per centSecond dose: 79.1 per centLatest case information from Queensland Health.Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said the scientific services team picked up the differences in the Omicron variant.”[They] recognised there are differences between the full and normal Omicron classification, passed it on to the international committee in a really quick time frame,” he said.”This now led to a re-classification of Omicron.”The important part is those two sub-lineages, one has the S gene dropout and is the normal means of screening for Omicron … but then this other gene then doesn’t have this S gene dropout.”He said new classification would make it easier for people to recognise the potential spread of Omicron in all communities.”What the arrival of Omicron means — we now have Omicron and Omicron Like — is a reminder to us all that as we open our borders, this doesn’t mean the COVID journey is finished,” he said.”In many ways the COVID journey is just starting.”We’ve been able to flatten the curve to have vaccine development, we’ve now got vaccine rollout to 80 per cent, but as we enter this next phase, we’re moving from elimination to suppression.”There were two new cases of COVID reported today, one from interstate and another from overseas but both had been in quarantine.More to come.LoadingWhat you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…

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