New questions raised about the origins of the Omicron COVID-19 variant
It comes as Australian officials bring forward access to vaccine booster shots.
Many originally dubbed it the 'South African variant,' but new details about the Omicron COVID-19 variant have raised questions as to where it really originated.
Authorities in South Africa first made the World Health Organisation aware of the new mutation on November 25, but it's now been revealed that the first case in the US has been identified as dating to 10 days earlier.
In its weekly report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the country’s first case was detected on December 1 but the earliest report of symptom onset was November 15.
In addition, it was also revealed that more than 50% of American Omicron cases are in people aged 18-39, following previous reports that the strain was affecting young people more.
UK authorities now say Omicron will become the dominant strain of the virus within days, with the country seeing its biggest daily spike in infections since January.
That comes amid growing calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after a leaked video showed his staff joking about Christmas Party allegedly held during last year’s lockdown.
Allegra Stratton, his then-spokesperson, has now stepped down over the viral clip, but many online say he should go next.
Here at home, millions of Australians are now able to access a COVID-19 booster shot 1 month earlier than expected, in an attempt to stop the spread of Omicron.
Before Sunday, you had to wait 6 months after your second vaccine dose before getting a third shot - now that’s been changed to 5 months.
Over 650,000 Aussies have already received their booster shot.
Restrictions on Australia's international borders have been extended until February 2022, meaning rules like mask wearing for international flights & restrictions on international travel from high-risk countries will continue.
A ban on cruise ships coming into the country has also been extended.
Watch our full report here.