Omicron discussion centre of final National Cabinet meeting for 2021

Coronavirus and the new Omicron strain were at the centre of discussions at the National Cabinet's final meeting for 2021.

The cabinet will not convene again until February, after it had 27 meetings this year.

Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the main issue on the table today.

The cabinet agreed existing COVID-19 outbreak management plans need to be updated in light of the Omicron variant and coronavirus outbreaks in the Northern Territory to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

READ MORE: Two Omicron cases found in Victorian community

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks with state premiers Annastacia Palaszczuk and Daniel Andrews at a National Cabinet meeting.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly advised Australia is still in the early stages of understanding the Omicron variant, but said signs are positive it is not as deadly as earlier strains.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has extended the human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 for a further two months to February 17, 2022.

The emergency arrangements, which allow the government to place restrictions on international travel from high risk countries and restrictions on outbound international travel for unvaccinated Australians, have been in place since March 18 last year.

The nation has recorded a total of 2084 COVID-19 related deaths and a total of 225,640 confirmed cases of the virus.

There have been more than 49.6 million tests done across the country and 40,031,174 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered.

More than 93.2 per cent of the Australian population aged 16 years and over have now had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 88.9 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over are fully vaccinated.

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