NSW Health can confirm urgent genomic testing is underway after passengers who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa tonight have tested positive for COVID-19.
Fourteen passengers who arrived in Sydney are from one of the nine southern African countries of South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles.
Testing on arrival has identified two of these passengers have COVID-19, and urgent genomic sequencing is underway to determine if they have been infected by the new Omicron B.1.1.529 variant of concern.
The passengers arrived on Qatar Airways QR908, Doha to Sydney, which arrived around 7pm, Saturday November 27.
These passengers have been transported to the Special Health Accommodation where they will undertake 14 days of quarantine.
Other passengers on the flight may be considered a close contact and will be contacted and requested to get tested immediately, and isolate for 14 days in accordance with a public health order. It is an offence not to comply with a Public Health Order and penalties can apply. Close contacts will be contacted regularly, and compliance checks will be undertaken.
In line with Commonwealth measures, all travellers arriving in NSW who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles during the 14 day period before their arrival in NSW must enter hotel quarantine for 14 days, irrespective of their vaccination status.
All travellers who have been in any other overseas country during the 14 day period before their arrival in NSW must travel directly to their place of residence or accommodation and isolate for 72 hours, pending further health advice.
All flight crew who have been overseas during the 14-day period before their arrival in NSW must travel directly to their place of residence or accommodation and isolate for 14 days or until their departure on another flight that leaves Australia, consistent with the current rules for unvaccinated flight crew;
Anyone who has already arrived in NSW who has been in any of the nine African countries within the previous 14 days must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, and call NSW Health on 1800 943 553.