In an announcement earlier today NSW Health confirmed that two returned travellers from southern Africa have tested positive for the new ‘Omicron’ COVID-19 variant in Sydney.

While these are the first known cases of the strain in Australia and remain quarantined at the state’s Special Health Accommodation facilities, there are 260 more passengers and air crew on that same flight to Australia that are considered close contacts and have been told to isolate.

Both individuals who arrived on Qatar Airways QR908, Doha to Sydney, about 7pm on Saturday are fully vaccinated and remain asymptomatic.

The remaining 12 passengers from southern Africa will undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine in the same facility.

Anyone arriving in the state from the nine ‘Omicron’ impacted southern African countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles) will have to hotel quarantine for 14 days irrespective of their vaccination status.

These measures will also apply with the federal government’s directive. Lastly, individuals entering from other countries are required to immediately isolate for 72 hours upon entry at their place of residence or safe accommodation while they await further health advice and testing.