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Covid-19 inquiry: Australia has 37 Omicron circumstances, 27 of which were locally acquired

Australia has 37 cases of the Omicron strain, 10 of which were acquired overseas.

Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly told a Covid-19 senate inquiry on Tuesday that the variant of concern was “already here” and they were not looking to stop its entry into Australia, but slow down transmission until more was known about it.

“As of a few minutes ago I can confirm there are 37 identified cases detected in Australia,” he said.

“Only 10 were associated with overseas travel, the rest are locally acquired.

“To be clear, we are not looking to stop the entry of this variant, but rather looking to slow down its transmission into and within Australia as we have time to learn as much about it as we can.”

Earlier Task force Commander Lieutenant General John Frewen told the inquiry that 470,000 Australians had received a booster shot.

But he said the number of people currently eligible was about 678,000.

He said that in March, April and May next year the number of people needing their booster would “ramp up dramatically”.

By the end of this month there would be 1.7m eligible, by the end of January 4.1m and by May it would be 17.8m.

More to come.

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