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The Informer: Omicron has reached Australian shores

Authorities have confirmed two travellers in Sydney have the highly transmissible Omicron strain. Picture: Shutterstock
Authorities have confirmed two travellers in Sydney have the highly transmissible Omicron strain. Picture: Shutterstock

The Omicron COVID-19 variant has reached Australian shores.

The positive cases are currently in isolation. They are both asymptomatic and are both fully vaccinated.

Investigations are also under way to determine whether a returned traveller in the Northern Territory is also infected with Omicron.

Australia slammed shut its borders to nine countries in southern Africa on Saturday after the variant emerged in South Africa.

Almost 30 people arrived in Sydney from southern Africa on Saturday evening, they have all been sent into hotel quarantine.

Victoria reported 1061 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and four deaths.

There were 185 new cases reported in NSW and for the fourth consecutive day there were no new deaths reported in the state.

In politics news, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that new legislation will be introduced this week to crack down on abuse and bullying on social media platforms.

The new laws would require social media platforms to reveal the identities of people who post defamatory of damaging material anonymously.

Social media companies would be defined as the publisher of comments under the proposed legislation. This would be companies could be the target of a defamation claim.

If a claim progresses to a court, the platform may be required to provide personal details from the account that made the negative comments.

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has been in the spotlight this week over her impassioned speeches in her chamber. Her speech slamming One Nation's attempts to prevent mandatory vaccinations went viral.

Senator Lambie spoke to The Canberra Times about how two federal seats in Tasmania could sway the outcome of the election and Jacqui Lambie's network of independents are gunning for the balance of power.

In other news, earlier this month there was a mammoth 10-hour operation at the Canberra Hospital to help a Wagga Wagga farmer get the use of his right forearm and hand back after it was severed in a farming accident 13 months ago.

In October 2020, Adam Symons had been baling hay on his farm when the sleeve of his shirt got caught in the mechanism and dragged his arm in.

Miraculously, Mr Symons was able to drive his tractor down to another paddock and seek help. He was airlifted to Canberra Hospital while his severed limb was extracted from the baler and packed with ice.

A team of local surgeons, led by doctors Ross Farhadieh and Krishna Rao, worked for 11 hours to save the limb and have the blood flowing again.

Now, 13 months later, the complex reconstructive surgery has begun, with the transfer of muscle, blood vessels and nerves taken from his inner thigh - the gracilis muscle - into his forearm.

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*This edition of The Informer was written by The Canberra Times journalist Lucy Bladen. If you'd like to show your support for the team behind The Informer, why not forward us to a friend?

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This story Omicron reaches Australian shores, PM cracks down on social media abuse first appeared on The Canberra Times.