Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the government’s “overwhelming view” is that the Omicron variant is “manageable” and that advice is that it may be milder than other variants.
Mr Hunt said the government’s decision to pause planned easing of border restrictions for international students and other eligible visa holders was done out of an “abundance of caution”.
Wednesday’s planned partial border reopening has been pushed back until December 15.
“All of this is done on the presumption that we will recommence from 15 December, but medical advice will guide our decision-making throughout,” Mr Hunt said.
“We’re doing this out of an abundance of caution but our overwhelming view is that while it’s an emerging variant, it’s a manageable variant.”
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the five people who had tested positive to the Omicron variant in Australia were experiencing “mild or, in fact, no disease”.
However, he said, there were still many unknowns about the variant.