NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says Australia cannot hide from the omicron strain, as NSW is expected to record its sixth case of the variant.
“We already have this variant in the community. If it wasn’t already here, which it was, it was going to get here.”
“They shut down flights from India in relation to the delta variant and delta came in. We cannot hide from COVID.”
He said authorities were monitoring the situation and “if we need to make changes, we will.”
NSW currently has five confirmed cases of the omicron strain, with a sixth case, an overseas traveller who has spent six months in Nigeria, expected to be confirmed later today.
The person, who is fully vaccinated, arrived on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney on November 25, and tested positive to COVID-19 on Tuesday.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says the man, who has mild symptoms, has been in the community and NSW Health are continuing investigations into possible sites of concern.
It comes as the state recorded 251 new cases of COVID-19.
But Perrottet says the focus needs to move away from case numbers.
“It’s not about the case numbers, it’s about the hospitalisations and ICU presentations.”
Any attempt to eliminate COVID has been “proven false”, he says, and the focus needs to be on getting vaccinated and keeping the economy open.
“It’s not just a health pandemic, it’s also a jobs pandemic.”
Hazzard says he is “not keen” to see a return to lockdowns and called for a “change in approach”.
“I think we need to strike a different balance to previously,” he said.