The Australian government has announced travel bans and new quarantine rules amid concerns about the new Omicron COVID-19 variant circulating in southern Africa.
Effective immediately, non-Australian citizens who have been in nine countries, including South Africa, where Omicron has been detected cannot enter Australia.
The countries are South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, The Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.
Australian citizens and their dependents who have been in those countries over the past 14 days will need to enter two weeks’ supervised quarantine.
Additionally, anyone who has already arrived in Australia from one of the countries recently must isolate for 14 days.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said about 100 people who had flown into states and territories where quarantine is not compulsory would be required to quarantine.
“The crucial thing is supervised 14 days’ quarantine. Where that occurs [whether at home or hotel quarantine] will be a matter for states to determine,” Professor Kelly said.
He said the states and territories in question were New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT.
Australia has also suspended all flights to and from the affected countries.
The government is also changing the international border checks for all arrivals.
At the moment people flying in are required to show their vaccine certificate and a negative PCR test, but they will now be asked to list which countries they have been to in the past 14 days.