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A school student with no link to overseas travellers is the latest confirmed case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in NSW, stoking fears the new strain is circulating in the community.
Another two students from Regents Park Christian School in western Sydney possibly have the variant too, with urgent testing results due back on Friday.
"This is of concern to the extent that this is the first case that we know of that appears not to have had any travel history," Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
The student also has no links to overseas travellers, according to NSW Health.
"It would appear that the case could well be an on-NSW-soil transmission," Mr Hazzard said.
Senior students from the school have already been dismissed for the year, but contact tracing and further investigations are underway.
Speaking to the media on Friday morning, Mr Hazzard said authorities will look to strike a "gentle balance" in its approach as it expects cases to rise in the coming months.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state was still on track to ditch masks in most settings on December 15 under the current plan.
He stressed that attention must remain on hospitalisations and those admitted to the ICU, which remain low.
"Case numbers in and of themselves are only one measurement," Mr Perrottet said.
"And we are opening up, as we do open up, mobility will increase. The fact that people right across the state have gone out and been vaccinated is the number one protection which keeps them safe and their families safe.
"So as the Health Minister has said, we will always have a balanced and proportionate response. Case numbers will increase as we open up, and that is up to 15 December and beyond."
NSW Health reported 337 cases of the coronavirus in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday - the highest since October 22.
Victoria, meanwhile, recorded 1,188 new Covid cases and a further 11 deaths.
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