• Lincoln Holmes

More Omicron cases reported in Australia - but how bad is the new variant?

Not much is currently known about the new mutation, which was first reported in southern Africa.

We’ve only known about it for around a week - but now, Omicron is being detected worldwide.

Cases have been reported in several dozen countries - the majority in South Africa, the UK, the Netherlands & Denmark.


And now, it’s here at home too.


Today, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly confirmed that there are 37 cases of the variant in Australia - 10 of which are linked to overseas travel.

Authorities say urgent testing is underway to find out whether there are more that are currently undetected in NSW & Victoria.

South Australian authorities are on alert over a cluster that saw former Premier Jay Weatherill test positive, and they've now tightened border rules with NSW, the ACT & Victoria.

But how bad is Omicron?

Experts say it may be early to rule anything in or out, but one worry is how fast it could spread - multiple African countries seeing a sharp rise in daily infections, according to local authorities


Around 1-in-4 South Africans are double-dosed, but many African nations have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the world - partly due to a shortage of doses.


It’s still not fully clear whether new vaccines will be needed to tackle Omicron, though some early reports say many cases are mild.


For live updates on the Omicron COVID-19 variant, click here.


Watch our full report here.