The new variant has not been linked to any case sequenced anywhere else in Australia, but patients had traveled to New South Wales.
Authorities in the Australian state of Victoria said genomic sequencing has detected for the first time the Delta COVID-19 virus variant among infections from the latest outbreak in Melbourne, the state capital and the second largest city. great of Australia.
“This variant is the Delta variant, it is now infamous in India and is increasingly found in the UK. It is a variant of great concern,” Brett Sutton, Victoria’s health director, told reporters on Friday. .
Sutton said the new variant had not been linked to any sequenced cases of COVID-19 in other parts of Australia, either in hotel quarantine or anywhere else.
So far, two cases of Victoria have the so-called Delta variant of concern, which is believed to be behind the recent devastating wave of COVID-19 in India.
“It’s worrying that it’s not related to other cases, but we’re pursuing all those primary case contacts … and we’re looking at where it could have been acquired,” Sutton said.
Following the latest update, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Melbourne family diagnosed with the Delta strain had traveled to New South Wales (NSW) in the days leading up to their positive tests.
Australian medical director Paul Kelly was quoted as saying that federal health officials are meeting on Friday to discuss the news.
“This is another mystery we have to work for,” he said.
Extended Melbourne blockade
Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, is struggling to contain its latest outbreak – 65 cases since May 24 – after more than three months without cases, putting severe restrictions on the movement of people and closing large parts of its population. economy.
The government has linked all the cases to a single passenger released from quarantine in neighboring South Australia after giving a negative.
Melbourne is in the week of the hard lock but on Thursday night, some edges in the state relaxed.
Authorities blamed the extension of hard sidewalks in the city until June 10 on the Kappa variant, first detected in India, which they described as a highly infectious strain.
New cases have been kept in single digit for eight consecutive days. Four new locally acquired cases were reported on Friday, compared to three the day before.
Instant blockades, restrictions on regional borders and strict rules of social distancing have greatly helped Australia curb and maintain previous outbreaks. The number of COVID-19 is relatively low, with just over 30,100 cases and 910 deaths.
More than 4.6 million doses of vaccine were administered on Wednesday in Australia, which has an adult population of about 20 million.