Australian woman arrested after setting fire in quarantine hotel

Australia: A woman aged 31 has been charged after a fire demolished part of a Covid-19 quarantine hotel in Cairns, Queensland.

She lit a fire under a bed in the room that she had been sharing with two children this morning. More than 160 people were evacuated as fire took hold in the 11-storey Pacific Hotel. No-one was injured.

This incident came about just as Australia reported two cases of the new coronavirus variant which is prompting new restrictions.

Omicron was first reported by South Africa, and has been classified as “of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO) with early evidence suggesting a higher re-infection risk.

In wake of the new virus strain, the government in the capital has announced a suspension of flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi, and Mozambique. Non-Australians who have been in those countries in the past two weeks are now banned from entering Australia.

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