A leading doctor is urging us not to worry too much about the new COVID-19 variant known as ‘Omicron’.

The ACT’s Executive Director of Medical Services, Dr Nick Coatsworth says it’s still very early days in our understanding of the effects of the new strain.

“There are some encouraging signs about Omicron, there’s also some worrying signs but it’s certainly nothing anyone needs to panic about at the moment.”

Early evidence seems to suggest the virus spreads quicker than previous variants, including delta, however patients in Africa with the new strain, at this stage, appear to only be showing mild symptoms of the virus.

It’s effects of more vulnerable people and its resistance to vaccines is not yet fully known.

“Nothing is sort of playing out in real life yet expect that it seems to be spreading a bit quicker in South Africa.” Dr Coatsworth said.

The new variant was first detected in Botswana last week and has since spread to surrounding African nations, Hong Kong, the UK and now Australia.


Two travellers who arrived in Sydney from Southern African on Saturday have now tested positive to the new strain.

Both are asymptomatic and are now in quarantine.

About 260 other people on the same flight are now also isolation for the next 2 weeks.

As a result, Australia has now closed its border to nine African nations where the virus has been detected.

The ACT, New South Wales and Victoria have also gone a step further to reintroduce quarantine requirements for all international arrivals.

On Monday morning, The Prime Minister also announced he will be holding a national cabinet meeting with the state and territory’s to discuss the new strain.

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