PM calls urgent national cabinet to discuss Omicron response.
The prime minister has called an emergency national cabinet to discuss the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Federal, state and territory leaders will convene on Tuesday to decide on quarantine arrangements after Victoria, NSW and the ACT installed a 72-hour quarantine requirement for all international travellers.
Australia has shut its borders to eight southern African nations as health authorities race to gather more information about the variant, which appears to be more transmissible.
Currently, five cases of the variant are confirmed in Australia: four in recent arrivals to Sydney, and one man at the Northern Territory's Howard Springs quarantine facility.
All cases are fully vaccinated and currently asymptomatic.
Late on Monday the Morrison government also announced it was delaying the reopening of international borders to skilled workers, international students and other visa holders.
BREAKING: The Federal Government has deferred Wednesday’s planned easing of border restrictions for international students and other eligible visa holders until December 15, because of OMICRON. @abcnews #auspol— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) November 29, 2021
The border ban was to be lifted to those groups of travellers on Wednesday, but Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly advised that be paused until December 15.
Professor Kelly said the current uncertainty was what concerned authorities, and the 72-hour quarantine would give national cabinet and Australia's primary vaccine advisory body time to gather more information before deciding on a path forward.