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Covid LIVE: Panic as 330% rise in hospitalisations in province where Omicron first spotted

Australia detects first probable cases of Omicron

Australia is on high alert after discovering that an international traveller who was most likely infected with the omicron variant, spent time in the community while infectious. 

Officials are now rushing to trace those the traveller may have been in contact with. 

if confirmed, this will take the number of confirmed Omicron cases in Australis to six. 

All other infected persons are in quarantine and show mild or no symptoms. 

Moderna boss says vaccines likely less effective against Omicron

The CEO of Moderna has said that there is likely to be a 'material drop' in the efficacy of vaccines against the Omicron strain of coronavirus. 

Speaking to the Financial Times Stéphane Bancel said: "There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level."

"I think it's going to be a material drop.

"I just don't know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I've talked to are like 'this is not going to be good.'" 

Mr Bancel said that it would also likely be months before a vaccine tailored to Omicron could be made available.