The Australian authorities of the state of Victoria announced on Friday that genome sequencing first discovered the Delta-COVID-19 virus variant among the infections in the recent virus outbreak in the state capital, Melbourne.
“This variant is the Delta variant, it is now notorious in India and is increasingly being found in the UK. It is a variant that is of major concern, “said Brett Sutton, Victoria State’s chief health officer, in Melbourne.
Sutton said the new variant has not been linked to sequenced COVID-19 infection cases across Australia from hotel quarantine or elsewhere.
So far, two Victoria cases have what is known as the “Delta” variant of concern, which is likely the strain caused by the last devastating wave of COVID-19 in India.
“It’s worrying that it isn’t related to other cases, but we’re chasing all those contacts down to primary cases … and looking into where they might have been acquired,” Sutton said.
Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, is battling its most recent outbreak – 65 cases since the 24. The government has linked all cases to a single traveler who was released from quarantine after testing negative.
Melbourne stands up second week of hard lockdown after it was extended for another week to June 10, but some curbs elsewhere in the state were loosened as of Thursday night.
Authorities blamed the expansion of the hard kerbstones in Melbourne to include the kappa variant first discovered in India, which they described as a highly contagious strain, although new cases have remained in the single digits for eight days in a row.
Four new locally acquired cases were reported on Friday, up from three the day before.
Rapid lockdowns, regional border restrictions and strict social distancing rules have largely helped Australia contain previous outbreaks and keep its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, with just over 30,100 cases and 910 deaths.
In Australia, which has an adult population of around 20 million, more than 4.6 million doses of vaccine had been given as of Wednesday.
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