WATCH

Saturday, November 27: NSW records 235 COVID-19 cases as WHO declares Omicron 'variant of concern'

Dr Christine Selvey provides today's COVID-19 Update 27/11/21 (Video: NSW Health)

NSW has recorded 235 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm.

Three cases have been excluded following further investigation, bringing the total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic to 80,981.

No deaths were recorded in the reporting period.

There are currently 174 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 26 people in intensive care, 10 of whom require ventilation.

62,044 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm, which was down from the previous day's total of 73,027.

NSW Health are working closely with the Commonwealth and other states and territories to rapidly understand the implications of the new COVID-19 variant of concern, Omicron.

NSW Health are working closely with the Commonwealth and other states and territories to rapidly understand the implications of the new COVID-19 variant of concern, Omicron.

Of the 235 cases reported to 8pm last night:

  • 65 are from South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (LHD)
  • 49 are from South Western Sydney LHD
  • 29 are from Western Sydney LHD
  • 21 are from Sydney LHD
  • 21 are from Hunter New England LHD
  • 17 are from Northern Sydney LHD
  • 10 are from Western NSW LHD
  • five are from Murrumbidgee LHD
  • five are from Nepean Blue Mountains LHD
  • five are from Southern NSW LHD
  • three are from Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD
  • two are from Central Coast LHD
  • two are from Mid North Coast LHD
  • and one is from Northern NSW LHD

NSW Health's ongoing sewage surveillance program has detected fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 in sewage samples collected from Quirindi, Eden, Bermagui, Coonamble, South Lismore and East Lismore, where there are currently no known or recent cases.

The state's population aged 16 years and over is now 92.3 per cent fully vaccinated, while 94.5 per cent have had their first COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Those aged between 12 and 15 years are 76.2per cent fully vaccinated, while 81.2 per cent have had their first dose.

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Australia has been urged to remain vigilant and maintain COVID-19 control measures as a new and stronger variant threatens to spread from southern Africa.

The World Health Organisation said it was designating the variant, named Omicron, as being "of concern" - a label only given to four variants to date. Omicron first emerged in Botswana and has been detected in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium.

It has double the number of mutations as the Delta variant that sparked a third wave of outbreaks and lockdowns in Australia this year.

NSW Health said they are working closely with the Commonwealth and other states and territories to rapidly understand the implications of the new COVID-19 variant of concern, Omicron.

No cases of the Omicron B.1.1.529 variant of concern of COVID-19 have been identified in NSW to date.

Meanwhile, residents have been given an extra two vouchers to spend on food and entertainment. They are the latest instalment in the government's Dine and Discover program, with each adult in NSW granted an additional $25 to spend on dining out and $25 to spend on entertainment.

NSW Health will release further details of today's cases at 11am.

Vaccinated hospitality workers will not have to wear masks on the job from December 15 and QR check-ins will vanish at many businesses.

Masks will be required only on public transport and planes, at airports, and for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated.

Density limits of one person per two square metres in pubs, cafes and many other businesses will be scrapped and COVID safety plans will be optional for businesses.

QR check-ins will be needed only at high-risk venues, including hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, places of worship, funerals or memorial services, hairdressers, beauty salons, pubs, small bars, registered clubs and nightclubs.

Proof of vaccination will no longer be required by Public Health Order for most activities, but businesses can still require proof at their own discretion.

Proof of vaccination and QR codes will still be required for indoor music festivals with more than 1000 people.

- with AAP

This story NSW records 235 COVID cases as fears grow over new 'variant of concern' first appeared on Newcastle Herald.