EFEBangkok Desk

Australia on Sunday confirmed its first cases of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant, concern over which is leading dozens of countries around the world to ban or restrict entry to travelers from southern Africa.

The variant, which was first detected in Botswana on Nov. 11, was identified by South Africa on Tuesday and classified as "of concern” by the World Health Organization because of its high number of mutations.

It is not yet known how existing vaccines would work against Omicron, nor whether it is more transmissible, but the WHO said it "may have a growth advantage."