Premier Dominic Perrottet has vowed NSW will stay open and forge ahead with its Covid roadmap despite fears about the Omicron variant.
NSW Health confirmed on Sunday urgent genomic testing found two travellers who touched down in Sydney from southern Africa on Saturday night have the new strain.
The latest virus mutation, first detected in South Africa, sparked concerns around the globe amid fears it is more transmissible than world's most contagious and dominant strain, Delta.
But Mr Perrotet said Omicron could be contained and the state's timeline of lifting restrictions at 95 per cent vaccination or on December 15 was on track.
Two cases of the super-mutant Covid Omicron strain have been confirmed in NSW, sparking fears tough restrictions could again be cast over the state. Pictured: A group of woman drink in a Sydney bar
He said 'for the moment' he intended to stick with the state's plan as NSW could not be a 'hermit kingdom on the other side of the world'.
'Ultimately, we not only need to learn to live alongside the virus, but live alongside the variants as well,' he said.
'This pandemic is not over. These variants will continue, cases will continue to rise and the best thing we can do to keep the community safe, keep your family safe is to go out and get vaccinated and get that booster shot when you can.'
The World Health Organization declared Omicron a 'variant of concern' quicker than it did with other variants
Omicron highlights the need to boost vaccination in poorer parts of the world such as Africa
Experts say mask wearing, social distancing and better ventilation will help prevent all variants of Covid-19, including Omicron
The NSW Government confirmed 29 people, including the two confirmed Omicron cases, arrived on Saturday aboard two flights from the nine African nations feared to be infested with the variant.
Mr Perrottet, his Victorian counterpart Daniel Andrews, and ACT Premier Andrew Barr temporarily re-imposed a 72-hour self-isolation requirement for all international arrivals.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also banned all flights from the nine nations of concern - which include South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Seychelles and Malawi.
Under the federal rules, passengers already on flights to Australia who have been in those countries over the past 14 days will be forced into two-week hotel quarantine.
Mr Perrotet said it was inevitable that Omicron would seep onto our shores.
'If you look at Delta… how quickly that come into countries around the world, the prime minister cancelled flights into here,' he said.
'The reality is these variants are highly transmissible and that means it is almost certain it will get into countries around the world. That is the reality of the situation.
'We can’t look at the world as we want it to be, we need to look at the situation as it is.'
But despite concerns about the new South African variant, Premier Dominic Perrotet has vowed to forge ahead with a plan to reopen NSW next month
Two overseas travellers who arrived in Sydney on Saturday night have been confirmed to have the new super-mutant Covid strain, Omicron
From December 15, restrictions will ease across NSW for the unvaccinated, mask and QR codes will be scrapped for most venues, and proof of vaccination certificates will only be needed for indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people.
Masks will only be required on public transport and planes, at airports and for indoor hospitality staff who aren't fully vaccinated.
QR code check-ins will only be required for 'high risk venues' such as hospitals, gyms, airports, aged care facilities and limited hospitality venues.
Mr Perrottet cautioned restrictions may be re-imposed if the Omicron fuelled another major outbreak, but assured NSW his intention was to stick to his plan.
'We have a road map and that’s clearly set out,' he said.
'There will be variants from time to time. We have said that from the outset. This pandemic is not over, challenges will continue to come our way.
'We have said if there are instances along the way where we need to put in certain restrictions at certain points in time in a targeted way we will, but we are not there.'
Masks will only be required on public transport and planes, at airports, and for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff who are not fully vaccinated
No density limits (previously one person per 2sqm)
Covid safety plans will be optional for businesses and will be supported by SafeWork NSW
QR check-ins will only be required at high-risk venues including hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, places of worship, funerals or memorial services, personal services (e.g. hairdressers and beauty salons)
Hospitality settings like pubs, small bars, registered clubs and nightclubs and for indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people will still require QR codes
Proof of vaccination will no longer be required by Public Health Order for most activities (businesses can still require proof at their own discretion).
Proof of vaccination will still be required for indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people.
NSW recorded 185 new Covid-19 on Sunday morning, while Victoria recorded 1,061 new cases and four deaths.
So far, 92.4 per cent of NSW residents over 16 are vaccinated and 94.5 per cent have received a first dose.
Of those aged 12 to 15, 81.3 per cent have received one jab and 76.5 per cent have had both.
The premier said the focus of his government would be to ensure vaccination continued, as that would combat the new variant.
'That has been the key success here in NSW, key to ensuring that as we open up, we continue to open up safely and that is the focus of the government,' he said.
'We need everybody in NSW to roll up their sleeves, get the booster shots and ensure people in NSW are going to stay safe.'
However, in light of the new cases, NSW Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres announced on Sunday the state government was prepared to clamp down on travellers arriving from overseas.
'We will take the necessary measures, including restarting quarantine if required, to protect our community and our economy,' he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Passengers disembark off a Qantas flight after landing at Sydney Airport. Two other arrivals to Australia on flights from Africa have tested positive for Covid in the Northern Territory and Victoria, with genomic testing underway to identify the strains
Mr Perrotet did not rule out restrictions in the event of a major outbreak, but said he intends to stick to NSW's Covid roadmap
A NSW government source said work was underway to restore hotel quarantine if required, but the preferred option will be home isolation unless the strain was deemed extremely severe.
Despite the premier's assurances, some experts urged state leaders to crack down early while scientists work to determine the severity of the new strain.
Two other passengers who tested positive to Covid after