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NSW Premier warns Australia has another 12 months of Covid to come as he holds line against Omicron

Australians have been the warned that the Covid pandemic is far from over and the virus is going to be around for at least another year.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet also ruled out reintroducing hotel quarantine as a means of combatting the new Omicron super variant - at least for now. 

At least two and possibly three people have tested positive to Omicron, and Mr Pertottet said his state's number one priority is keeping people safe. 

'That's what we've done over the last 18 months, that's what we'll do over the next 12 months as we move through the next phase of this pandemic.' 

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured) says Covid is likely to be around for another 12 months

Asked if a reintroduction of hotel quarantine is on the cards, Mr Pertottet said 'No,' but then immediately made it clear that quarantine is still very much an option.

'If ... circumstances change which may result in a situation from a health perspective that there is a concern in relation to an increase in hospitalisations, we've always said that we will tailor our restrictions from time to time if necessary.'

He said taking such precautions is in line with the federal road map. 'That is the measured approach that any state should take. 

'As we've opened up we've been very clear that we do not want to go back into lockdown, we want to provide confidence to the business community,' he said. 

Mr Perrottet said that in the past 24 hours, 141 people from southern African countries affected by the new Omicron strain of Covid have arrived in Sydney and at least two and possibly three have tested positive to Omicron.  

He stressed that people don't just need to learn to live alongside Covid, they need to learn to live alongside the variants as well.  

'The pandemic is not over, but we need to continue to open up our state, open up our economy. Get people back into work.

'There are many challenges that are in front of us, but I believe the key to success here has been our high vaccination rate.'

Passengers arrive at Sydney International Airport on November 28, 2021. NSW Health authorities will now send people who have been overseas in the two weeks before their arrival into three days of home quarantine, as the state works out its response to the threat posed by a new variant of Covid-19 named Omicron

Mr Perrottet said he is confident that for the people of NSW 'it's going to be a very bright summer'. 

'Ultimately, though, we need to open up to the world. We need to do so safely. We don't need to have a knee jerk reaction. We need  to have a proportionate and balanced response to this situation that's in front of us.'  

He said as Australia opens up not just domestically, but internationally, Covid case numbers will increase, but that the measure of success is not case numbers. 

'The measure of success is keeping people out of hospital, keeping people safe and at the same time opening up the economy to keep people in work, keep businesses open.'

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says getting vaccinated is the best way for people to tackle Covid-19

Mr Perrottet said NSW has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, but that is not the case in southern African nations, where the Omicron variant has emerged from, so caution is needed.

'We want to rejoin the world,' he said. 'There are labour shortages across NSW. There are many families, there are many businesses that rely on, that survive on international tourism.' 

The Premier repeatedly said vaccination is the key to tackling Covid. 'Close to 95 per cent of people have received their first dose vaccination. That is incredibly important. 

"In addition to that, our booster shot program is up and running well. My key message today is ... please go out and get a booster shot [if you are eligible].'