Victoria’s Investigating Its First Potential Omicron Case, But DW, There’s No Need To Panic

Victoria is officially investigating its first possible Omicron case – but don’t pack away your picnic rugs just yet because luckily, the potentially infected person hasn’t been in the community.

According to the Vic Department of Health, genomic testing is currently underway to determine whether the case is the Omicron variant or not.

The person is fully-vaxxed and travelled from the Netherlands via Abu Dhabi back on December 3. They went straight into hotel quarantine after arriving in Melbourne.

In a statement, the Department of Health confirmed that while the person originally returned a negative PCR test on December 4, they then became symptomatic on December 6.

The department is also still working to find out where and how the person acquired COVID-19.

At the moment, international arrivals in Victoria have to quarantine for 72 hours on arrival and get a PCR test within 24 hours. They then have to get tested again between five and seven days after landing.

Currently NSW and the ACT both have confirmed Omicron cases.

It’s important to remember that scientists are still investigating the severity of Omicron. The reason why it was flagged as being a variant of concern is because of early evidence that it spreads quickly.

As Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious disease expert, told PEDESTRIAN.TV in our expert FAQ: “If Omicron is more infectious and displaces Delta, causes as much or more severe disease, and renders the vaccines ineffective, then yes, lockdowns may be back. But that’s in a ‘perfect storm’.

“If the vaccines prove effective, and Omicron causes mild disease despite being more infectious than Delta, then the chance of lockdowns are much less likely in a highly vaccinated country.”

TL;DR: staying informed is important but there’s no need to panic just yet!