Victoria confirmed 918 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths on Tuesday, a decrease from Monday’s 1007 cases with 11,417 active cases around the state. The state government has also confirmed that 91 per cent of residents aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In NSW, there were 179 new cases and three deaths with 94.5 per cent of the population aged 16 and older having received at least one dose and 92.4 per cent being fully vaccinated.
Despite the case numbers slowly dropping, the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused concern and could throw a spanner in the works as far as much-anticipated border openings are concerned.
On Tuesday morning’s press conference, Health Minister Greg Hunt said “right now we’re in the process of moving through the stages of border reopening. The last part of it would be up vaccinated arrivals. We’re not at a point yet to make that decision. We’ve always set out the time frames for decisions and that’s will be considered at a later time”.
Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly said that little is known about vaccine effectiveness against the Omicron variant. There have been five cases diagnosed in Australia. The cases – all double-vaccinated – are currently in quarantine, with one in the Northern Territory and the other four in NSW.
A National Cabinet meeting is taking place on Tuesday and health ministers are meeting collectively to review the national plan, whose next phase would be reopening to international students and visa workers before moving to double-vaxxed tourists.