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Australia sets out travel curbs from virus-hit southern Africa


Australia today imposed new restrictions on people who have been in nine southern African countries, as the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 raises concerns about a further wave of the pandemic.

Effective immediately, the government will ban non-citizens from the countries from entering country and will require 14-day quarantines for Australian citizens and their dependents returning from the countries, said Health Minister Greg Hunt.

The countries are South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.

“Anyone who is not a citizen of Australia or their dependents, and who has been in African countries where the Omicron variant has been detected and spread within the past 14 days will not be able to enter Australia,” he said.

The discovery of the virus ― which has a spike protein dramatically different from the one that existing vaccines are based on ― triggered global alarm on Friday as countries rushed to suspend travel from southern Africa and stock markets suffered their biggest falls in more than a year.

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