Additional border security measures to protect Australians from new ‘Omicron’ COVID-19 variant


Date published:

November 27, 2021

Type of support:

Press release

Public:

General public

These actions are carried out on the basis of prevention and are considered proportionate to the risk and consistent with the actions envisaged by other countries.

  1. As of now, anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or their immediate family, including relatives of citizens, and who have stayed in African countries where the Omicron variant has been detected and spread – in the last 14 days – will not be able to enter Australia.

    The countries are: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.

  2. Australian citizens and permanent residents, immediate family members, including relatives arriving from these countries, should be placed in immediate supervised quarantine for 14 days subject to jurisdictional provisions.
  3. Anyone who has ever arrived in Australia and been in any of the nine countries in the past 14 days should immediately self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19 and follow jurisdictional quarantine requirements which will include quarantine for 14 days from the time of departure from Southern Africa.
  4. These restrictions also apply to people, for example international students and skilled migrants, arriving from the safe travel zones we have established with New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and the Republic of Korea, who have stayed in the ‘one of nine countries in the last 14 days. .
  5. The government will suspend all flights from the nine southern African countries for a period of 14 days as a precaution.

The World Health Organization has said the B.1.1.529 strain of the virus, now known as the Omicron strain, is a variant of concern. It was first detected in southern African countries.

The Omicron variant has a high number of mutations within its spike protein, which is of particular concern.

There are currently no known cases of the Omicron variant in Australia.

The actions taken by the Australian government to date are preventative and will remain so until more is known about the severity and transmissibility of the new variant.

The emergence of the Omicron variant is another reason why anyone who is eligible in Australia who is not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 should make an appointment – today – to be vaccinated. If you finished your two-dose primary vaccination at least six months ago and have not yet received a booster dose, make a booster reservation now.

People should also continue to apply COVIDSafe measures, including good hand washing and coughing and sneezing hygiene and getting tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

These new measures were implemented on the recommendations of the Australian Chief Medical Officer who was based on a comprehensive risk assessment. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) is aware and actively engaged in the discussions.

Australians can be reassured that the Australian government, as it has done throughout the pandemic, is acting on the best medical advice available. If further action is required, the government will not hesitate to take those steps.

The AHPPC is following international developments very closely and will continue to advise the government on how to respond to the Omicron variant.

Australians are encouraged to obtain their COVID-19 information from reliable sources, such as the Australia.gov.au website.

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