The variant, believed to be more infectious than all previous strains, was first detected in South Africa and flagged as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday.
Health authorities said the two cases, both coming to Sydney from southern Africa on the evening of Saturday, underwent testing on arrival and tested positive for Covid-19 late Saturday night.
The two people were asymptomatic and are in isolation in the Special Health Accommodation. Both the cases are fully vaccinated.
The two passengers were amongst 14 travellers from southern Africa who arrived in Sydney via Doha. The remaining 12 passengers are undertaking 14 days of hotel quarantine in the Special Health Accommodation. Around 260 passengers and air crew on the flight are considered close contacts and have been directed to isolate.
The state already introduced some new measures from midnight Saturday, including mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and Seychelles during the 14-day period before their arrival in NSW.
Those who has already arrived in NSW from any of the nine African countries within the previous 14 days must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, said the NSW health authorities.