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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Australia, Asia, and Africa deal with the Covid-19 Omicron variant

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Covid-19 and Omicron infections are flaring around Australasia and Africa.

With Omicron spreading around the world, many countries are seeing the new variant spread, as well as Covid-19 in general on the rise. Here are some updates from around Australasia and Africa (a roundup of Europe can be found here):

AUSTRALIA

13 cases of Omicron have been identified in a cluster in Sydney after finding the first infection just Friday, with another suspected infection in Queensland. Australia is concerned about the emerging variant, but they have decided against any border closings after just recently reopening their borders to international travellers.

Premier Steven Marshall announced yesterday that the country’s South Australia State will take proactive measures of doubling quarantine periods for international travellers. Those entering the state will now have to quarantine 14 days instead of just 7. Domestically, people coming from the southeastern states of Australia will be required to take a test upon arrival and then isolate until the test results are returned negative, much like Thailand’s Test & Go programme.

SOUTH AFRICA

In the last 5 days, the daily Covid-19 infection rates nearly quadrupled with over 16,000 infections in the last 24 hours. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases reports the rate of positive test results jumped from 16.5% on Tuesday to 24.3%.

Further bad news as researchers in the country have found that the Omicron variant is 3 times more likely to reinfect recovered Covid-19 patients than any variant that has come before. And new infections in South Africa seem to be affecting people under the age of 40 more than the previous 3 waves of Covid-19 in the country.

SINGAPORE

The city-state has been seeing a Covid-19 improvement with the Ministry of Health reporting community infections reaching a 3-month low. They are not taking chances with the emergence of Omicron, blocking travel from African nations while imposing stricter regulations on all travellers entering Singapore. Officials stated even vaccinated travellers will need to take a daily Covid-19 test for one week.

CHINA

The National Health Commission in China reported 75 new Covid-19 infections on Friday, stemming from an outbreak just across the border in Inner Mongolia, with infections spilling over into Chinese border towns. The cluster spreading infections also included 61 cases in Mongolia.

The country did not say if any new cases were of the Omicron variants.

SOUTH KOREA

Korea is seeing a surge in Covid-19 with daily cases, deaths, and the number of critical patients all hit new record highs yesterday. The country has confirmed 9 Omicron cases after 3 more were found yesterday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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    Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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