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First US case of Omicron coronavirus variant reported. Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa. Here is what we know. Just as it looked like control of COVID-19 was within reach, news of a new variant in southern Africa has scientists, health officials and the public concerned.

Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa. Here is what we know

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the new variant Omicron, and classified it as a variant of concern. South African health authorities first raised the alarm after the variant, B.1.1.529, was confirmed in samples from more than 20 COVID cases. That's not a lot of people, in a country of 60 million. However, the variant has turned up just as daily cases shot up in South Africa, so experts are worried it could be the most potent strain yet. Here is what we know. Are scientists worried about Omicron?

Yes. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done, but scientists are alarmed by the number of changes in this variant's genetic code. It's normal for viruses to mutate over time, so scientists pay close attention when those changes alter how the virus behaves. "It is definitely a serious concern," he said. Loading form... COVID-19 variant described as 'worst one yet' emerges in South Africa, prompting UK to ban travel from six countries. A new COVID-19 variant which appears more potent than earlier forms is behind a spike in new cases in South Africa, according to the country's health authorities.

COVID-19 variant described as 'worst one yet' emerges in South Africa, prompting UK to ban travel from six countries

Key points: The variant contains a different spike protein to the one vaccines were based onScientists say its mutations could make it more infectiousThe UK has temporarily banned flights from South Africa and five other countries In an impromptu address late yesterday, South Africa's Health Minister and several experts warned mutations detected in the genetic code of the new COVID-19 variant could make the virus both more transmissible and better able to evade the immune system. South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said it had detected 22 positive cases of the variant, currently known as B.1.1.529.

For the past few weeks, the country had been seeing a daily new case rate of several hundreds, but in the last few days it shot into the thousands and hit 2,465 yesterday. Will Australia follow Europe into a fourth COVID wave? Boosters, ventilation and masks may help us avoid it. Europe is facing a fourth wave of COVID.

Will Australia follow Europe into a fourth COVID wave? Boosters, ventilation and masks may help us avoid it

As we watch on, it is reasonable to ask whether Australia will be confronted with the same fate. Several factors will determine this: vaccination rates, high uptake of third dose boosters, vaccination of children and whether a comprehensive strategy of ventilation with vaccine-plus measures including masks, testing and tracing are used. New OzSAGE modelling for NSW shows possible increasing cases from mid-December with a predicted peak in February 2022, despite high vaccination rates.

OzSAGE warns if contact tracing is not maintained and children 5 to 11 remain unvaccinated, hospitals may be overwhelmed again. But if we vaccinate young kids and maintain high testing and tracing, the outlook is good. If not for Delta … If the ancestral strains of the virus that dominated infections in 2020 were still in pole position, we would now have COVID well controlled in countries that achieved higher than 70 per cent of the whole population vaccinated.

Victoria records 2,297 new local COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths. Premier Daniel Andrews says Victoria remains on track to follow its roadmap out of lockdown next week, despite the state recording an all-time high of 2,297 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths.

Victoria records 2,297 new local COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths

Key points: The spike in infections comes after several days of lower daily case talliesThe state's seven-day daily case average remains within the range modelled by the Burnet InstituteChief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned on Wednesday the downward trajectory of the outbreak would be "bumpy" It is the highest single-day total recorded by an Australian state or territory during the pandemic.

There are now 20,505 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 125 people have died during the current Delta outbreak. The new cases were identified from 82,762 test results received by health authorities yesterday. They take the state's seven-day case average to about 1,806, which remains within the Burnet Institute's modelled peak of between 1,400 to 2,900 towards the end of this month. Loading form... International travel is set to resume but things won't be the same as before — here's what we know about home quarantine and more.

Australia's border has been almost entirely sealed for 18 months, but today it became clearer the end is in sight and changes are afoot for international travel next month.

International travel is set to resume but things won't be the same as before — here's what we know about home quarantine and more

For vaccinated people, a fortnight of hotel quarantine will be out and a shorter stretch of home quarantine will be in, while Australia's getting ready to welcome international guests by recognising some vaccines available overseas. It's expected that international flights will ramp up significantly from November, with NSW likely the first state off the rank. More Americans lost to coronavirus than 1918 flu pandemic, Johns Hopkins University data reveals. More Americans have now died from COVID-19 than the number who succumbed to the 1918 flu pandemic, according to new data.

More Americans lost to coronavirus than 1918 flu pandemic, Johns Hopkins University data reveals

Key points: The United States has borne a disproportionate number of COVID-19 fatalities, despite making up only 5 per cent of the world's populationAbout 24 per cent of US adults have not yet received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine yetUptake has been hit by a polarised political climate and what experts call an epistemological crisis The latest grim milestone comes as the country is experiencing a fourth wave driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, with low vaccination uptake in many regions the main cause of death. Thirteen gorillas test positive for Covid at Atlanta zoo. More than a dozen gorillas have tested positive for Covid-19 at Zoo Atlanta, probably after contracting the virus from a keeper, zoo officials said.

Thirteen gorillas test positive for Covid at Atlanta zoo

Staff were alerted when several of the zoo’s troop of 20 western lowland gorillas began exhibiting symptoms, including runny noses, mild coughing and loss of appetite. Fecal samples and swabs sent to the University of Georgia’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory showed that 13 of the great apes were positive for coronavirus, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. In a statement posted to the zoo’s website, officials said they believed a vaccinated member of its animal care team, who was wearing personal protective equipment and asymptomatic when she came to work, probably transmitted the virus. Singapore the country most fully vaccinated against COVID-19, tracker finds. Singapore has become the most fully vaccinated country in the world, according to a Reuters tracker.

Singapore the country most fully vaccinated against COVID-19, tracker finds

Key points: Authorities say they will soon announce further easing of COVID-19 restrictionsSingapore has been planning an exit strategy that involves "learning to live with COVID-19"Fifty-five people have died from the virus overall Singapore has 80 per cent of its 5.7 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post on Sunday. "We have crossed another milestone, where 80 per cent of our population has received their full regimen of two doses," he wrote. Australia's COVID crisis reaches a new level as the virus puts all of NSW into lockdown.

As Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 466 new coronavirus cases yesterday, a pandemic record for NSW, no one needed to ask why she followed up by announcing tightened lockdown limits.

Australia's COVID crisis reaches a new level as the virus puts all of NSW into lockdown

A 5-kilometre curb on travel from home, permits needed for any essential travel outside the Sydney region, registering a singles bubble partner for residents of local government areas of concern, and significantly increased penalties for violating the rules, laid out the new state of play. There was really only one question worth asking: will it be enough? The first answer came only a few hours later: not yet. From 5:00pm, the whole of NSW — the regional areas not already under stay-at-home orders anyway — joined the lockdown club. The bad news came thick and fast this week, delivering the kind of COVID firsts that everyone had hoped to avoid. Victoria records 20 new local COVID cases as Melbourne sweats on lockdown extension.

Victoria has recorded 20 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, as regional areas enjoy the first day out of lockdown.

Victoria records 20 new local COVID cases as Melbourne sweats on lockdown extension

Key points: Victorian health officials are weighing up an extension of Melbourne's lockdown beyond ThursdayThe General Achievement Test for year 12 students has been rescheduled due to the risk of a test becoming a superspreading eventThe impact of the pandemic will once again be assessed for every student completing VCE 3-4 units All of the new cases are linked to the existing outbreak, but only five were in quarantine during their infectious period. Late Tuesday, it emerged that a doctor who works at the Royal Children's Hospital in Parkville had tested positive, but it was unclear if that person was one of the cases announced on the day. The ABC understands they did not work at the hospital while infectious, but investigations are underway into whether they may have consulted at private suites nearby. "I don't know what the future brings. Byron Bay, Richmond Valley, Ballina, Lismore in lockdown after COVID-19 case in region. Four local government areas (LGAs) in the NSW North Coast are now in lockdown after a positive case travelled to the region from Sydney.

Key points: It's believed the man travelled to the Byron Shire from Sydney with two childrenByron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon said the man had not used QR codesThe lockdown applies to anyone who has been in the affected LGAs since July 31 The Byron Shire, Richmond Valley, Lismore and Ballina Shire LGAs are locked down until 12:01am on August 17.

Victoria enters sixth lockdown in response to new mystery COVID-19 cases. Victoria has entered its sixth lockdown in response to unexpected new mystery cases of COVID-19 in recent days. Key points: Victorians are only allowed to leave home for five reasonsUnder the lockdown, you must stay within five kilometres of your homeAuthorities are dealing with multiple mystery COVID-19 cases Eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on Thursday, with six of those from results received on Wednesday. The lockdown, which began at 8:00pm on Thursday, will last for seven days and there will only be five reasons for leaving home: getting groceries and supplies, exercise, care or caregiving, authorised work or education that cannot be done from home and getting vaccinated.

Under the rules, shopping and exercise must be done within five kilometres of your home. All Wuhan's 11 million residents to be COVID-tested as city records first local cases in over a year. Authorities in Wuhan on Tuesday said they would test its entire population for COVID-19 after the central Chinese city where the coronavirus emerged reported its first local infections in more than a year. The city of 11 million is "swiftly launching comprehensive nucleic acid testing of all residents", senior Wuhan official Li Tao said at a press conference on Tuesday. Authorities announced on Monday that seven locally transmitted infections had been found among migrant workers in the city, breaking a year-long streak without domestic cases after it squashed an initial outbreak with an unprecedented lockdown in early 2020.

China has confined the residents of entire cities to their homes, cut domestic transport links and rolled out mass testing in recent days as it battles its largest coronavirus outbreak in months. Leading epidemiologist warns NSW likely to have 'a couple of hundred' COVID cases a day for months. A leading epidemiologist believes New South Wales will not achieve zero spread of COVID-19 in the community any time soon. Key points: NSW on Monday recorded 207 local COVID-19 cases from the Delta outbreak, which started in JuneEpidemiologist Emma McBryde says Sydney can expect "a couple of hundred" cases a day for another few monthsThe federal government aims to ease restrictions when 70 per cent of eligible adults are vaccinated Professor of infectious diseases epidemiology and modelling at James Cook University, Emma McBryde, told 7.30 Greater Sydney was unlikely to reduce cases of COVID-19 in the community to zero for several months.

Professor McBryde said Sydney could expect "a small number of cases, and by small, I mean a couple of hundred a day … for another couple of months". Her team's modelling suggests that, by then, vaccination rates across the country will have reached a point where transmission of the virus is no longer the primary focus. Daily coronavirus infections are suddenly dropping in the UK, but not all is as it seems. On July 19 people throughout England celebrated "Freedom Day", which was the date all legal coronavirus restrictions ended, including social distancing and mask-wearing indoors. It marked the first time in more than 16 months there had been no limits on gatherings of people in social or work situations.

But it also occurred on a day that the UK recorded more than 46,000 new COVID-19 infections, and just four days earlier there had been more than 60,000 new cases – the highest number the country had experienced during its third wave of the pandemic. Weeks earlier Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned cases could reach up to 100,000 per day in August as England began to reopen.

But less than a week later, something unexpected happened – the government's daily infection count began to drop. What followed was seven consecutive days of falls in the number of new infections – on July 24 England had just 19,724 new cases, and the weekly average had dropped from 47,443. to just over 31,000. Indonesia set to decide on next COVID-19 restrictions as daily deaths reach record highs. Indonesia's government is set to decide whether to extend the country's toughest coronavirus curbs to date, as the country's death toll soars to record highs. Athlete, Olympic workers test positive for COVID as opening nears. A foreign athlete and five Olympic workers in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Tokyo 2020 organisers. The cases, announced on Thursday, marked the latest infections to emerge among people involved with the Summer Games, which are due to begin next week, and have raised new concerns about the spread of coronavirus at the global sporting event.

Victoria to enter five-day snap lockdown as more COVID cases recorded. : One in 420 people in UK has coronavirus - ONS. Epidemiologist warns of 'problematic' growth linked to Sydney's Delta strain. Sydney is "in trouble" and restrictions need to be brought in "quickly" after it was revealed a limousine driver was found to have the Delta strain of COVID-19, a leading epidemiologist says. Hopes for earlier ending to lockdown after two Melbourne COVID-19 cases deemed false positives.

Melbourne COVID: Which postcodes have active COVID-19 cases? Number of vaccine doses administered in Victoria tops 1 million. Victoria Covid public exposure sites: full list of Melbourne venues and Vic coronavirus hotspots and case location alerts. Taiwan and Singapore's current coronavirus surge should serve as a warning to Australia, expert say. As India experiences a COVID-19 wave unlike any they have seen before and with many other countries in the region seeing small outbreaks, Australians are being warned to take note. Nations once celebrated for their response to the coronavirus pandemic are now grappling with a sudden surge in cases, with large swathes of their populations left vulnerable and unvaccinated.

Thailand, for example, had until a few months ago been considered to be in the top five countries for its response to the pandemic. Hundreds of bodies found buried in shallow graves along Indian riverbanks. First repatriation flight from India arrives in Darwin following end of COVID-19 travel ban. The first repatriation flight from India has landed in Darwin following the end of the federal government's controversial ban on travel from that country. Originally, 150 passengers were supposed to board the flightForty of the scheduled passengers returned positive results to COVID-19 and another 30 were declared close contacts and were unable to boardThe arrivals will be taken to the Howard Springs centre The Qantas jet touched down at the RAAF base shortly before 9:00am, local time. Around 80 returned travellers are believed to be on board. COVID updates: Scott Morrison says Queensland, NSW and Victoria are open to receiving more flights from India — as it happened.

Hotel quarantine. India's second wave of COVID-19 is far more aggressive and deadly than the first. Here's what went wrong. Coronavirus pandemic: Tracking the global outbreak. COVID-19 surges in Indian capital New Delhi with 30pc returning positive tests. ‘Super-spreader’: Over 1,000 COVID positive at India’s Kumbh Mela. India records over 200,000 new COVID cases for the first time. Covid live news: England bans travel from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and the Philippines. UK Covid: Van-Tam tells public 'do not wreck' progress - as it happened. Is Australia's hotel quarantine system worth the risk as COVID variants spread? Here are the alternatives. Victorian coronavirus outbreak likely to grow as Melbourne Airport terminal listed as exposure site. Several gorillas at San Diego Zoo in US test positive for COVID. Coronavirus live news: Pope to have Covid vaccine next week; UK deaths surpass 80,000 after 1,035 recorded.

‘Jingle Hell’: UK mood darkens with new virus strain, Brexit woes. France to reopen UK borders closed over new coronavirus strain. Coronavirus cases recorded in Antarctica at Chilean research station. Victoria records positive coronavirus case from traveller who visited Sydney's northern beaches. If northern beaches coronavirus cluster spreads across Sydney, Christmas could be cancelled. French President Macron tests positive for COVID-19. Germany enters harder lockdown as virus deaths hit new high. London to go into strictest restrictions as new variant of COVID-19 identified - ABC News. Tensions rise over masks as virus grips smaller US cities. US virus deaths hit record levels with the holidays ahead. Coronavirus Australia news: South Australia begins countdown to end of lockdown at midnight - ABC News. Coronavirus live news: Macron announces national lockdown in France from Friday as cases surge. Coronavirus live news: China confirms 137 local cases as Spain enters state of emergency.

Tears, cheers and beers: Melbourne joyous as Daniel Andrews puts end to lockdown. Box Hill Hospital coronavirus outbreak that sparked northern Melbourne cases highlights flaws in healthcare system, doctor says - ABC News. Frustration over Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown mounts as business begs for restrictions to be eased - ABC News. Coronavirus live news: Daniel Andrews's office vandalised as long queues form for COVID-19 testing in Shepparton - ABC News.

A 14-day rolling average of 5 new daily cases is the wrong trigger for easing Melbourne lockdown. Let's look at 'under investigation' cases instead. Coronavirus live updates blog: Europe records 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day for first time - ABC News. Donald Trump went through 'very concerning' period with coronavirus, next 48 hours 'critical', White House says - ABC News. Trump has COVID-19, showing 'mild symptoms' at White House. US President Donald Trump says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after senior aide Hope Hicks tests positive for coronavirus - ABC News. Australians stranded overseas willing to wear ankle bracelets while quarantining to return home. Indian hospitals face oxygen shortage as COVID-19 cases surge. India's coronavirus cases above 5 million as pandemic accelerates. Victoria is watching its 14-day moving average of new coronavirus cases closely. Here's what it needs to get to - ABC News.

Coronavirus live news: European outbreaks worsen; Australia sees anti-lockdown protests. Coronavirus Australia map: tracking new cases, Covid-19 stats and live data by state. India records world's second-highest coronavirus tally, passing Brazil - ABC News. Coronavirus update: Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at pointy end of virus, India close to passing Brazil's case number - ABC News. Melbourne to stay under lockdown until end of September as coronavirus roadmap revealed. Coronavirus Australia news: Number of Victorian children diagnosed with 'Kawasaki-like' syndrome from rare COVID-19 complication - ABC News. With coronavirus almost behind it, China turns its attention to economic recovery with its answer to Oktoberfest - ABC News. Hong Kong man was reinfected by the coronavirus, researchers say.

Global coronavirus death toll hits 800,000: Live news. Coronavirus update: Russia starts manufacturing vaccine as cases near 1 million - ABC News. Victoria records 372 new infections while man in his 20s becomes Australia's youngest coronavirus death. Global report: Germany reports most cases since May as Brussels mandates face masks. Melbourne placed under stage 4 coronavirus lockdown, stage 3 for rest of Victoria as state of disaster declared - ABC News. 'Simply unacceptable': One in four Victorians with coronavirus not at home when door-knocked.

Coronavirus Victoria: Covid-19 'deeply embedded' and second wave may be more contagious. Why some Australians are rebelling against coronavirus face mask advice. Daniel Andrews says most Victorians are failing to self-isolate when they show coronavirus symptoms. Victoria records 317 new coronavirus cases in biggest daily increase of any state or territory.

ABC coronavirus data charts COVID-19 spread in Australia. Victoria's coronavirus lockdown is still likely some days away from affecting case numbers - ABC News. Here's the latest advice on whether Melburnians need to wear face masks in public. The Washington Post e-Replica Newspapers in Education - The Washington Post - 8 Jul 2020 - Curbs reinstated in Melbourne as new cases surge. Victoria reimposes lockdowns on Melbourne and Mitchell Shire as coronavirus cases rise by record amount - ABC News. Victoria coronavirus cases rise by 108 as Daniel Andrews strengthens lockdown at nine public housing estates - ABC News. Coronavirus update: 50,000 cases of COVID-19 recorded in one day in United States for first time - ABC News. Coronavirus update: Global tourism revenue could fall by up to $US3.3 trillion - ABC News.

Coronavirus-updates-live-melbourne-hotspots-return-to-lockdown-international-flights-diverted-from-victoria-restrictions-ease-in-nsw-20200701-p557ud. Infographic: How did we get to 10 million coronavirus cases? Global coronavirus death toll exceeds half a million: Live. US coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than data shows: Live. Why is Victoria experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases and other states aren't? - ABC News.

Claim that asymptomatic transmission 'very rare' was misunderstanding, says WHO official – as it happened. Coronavirus live news: Beijing back into partial lockdown as new cluster emerges. Who does coronavirus kill in England and Wales? Visualising the data.