On Friday, Australia’s Victoria state authorities stated that they have detected the Delta COVID-19 virus, the highly infectious variant, in its latest outbreak in Melbourne, which has become a stoking concern of a major spike in cases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had classified The Delta variant, among the four COVID-19 variants of concern since they spread more easily. This variant is what had probably been the cause of the devastating outbreak in India.
“It is a variant of significant concern,” the Victoria state Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton stated to the reporters in Melbourne. “The fact that it is a variant different to other cases it means it is not related, in terms of transmission, with these cases.”
Sutton said that the Delta variant has not been linked to any sequenced COVID-19 infections across Australia from hotel quarantine or elsewhere.
In Suttons’ words, “It is a concern that it is not linked to other cases but we are chasing down all those primary case contacts … and looking into where it might have been acquired.”
Delta COVID-19 virus was detected in two members of a family who had travelled to the neighbouring land of New South Wales (NSW) about two weeks ago, while it was likely infectious, and had visited all the popular tourist locations in the south of the state.
Sutton claimed that it was “within the bounds of possibility” that the cases could have contracted the Delta variant in NSW but to be absolutely sure of this, more tests would be needed.
New South Wales is Australia’s most populous state and has not reported any locally acquired case for about a month now. While, Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, has been battling to contain its latest outbreak, 64 cases since the 24th of May, after maintaining three months with no cases, having placed strict restrictions on the movement of its habitants and closing down large parts of its economy. The Government has linked all the cases to a single traveller, who was released from quarantine after testing negative.
Melbourne is right now into its second week of hard lockdown after the same was extended for another week till June 10th, but some curbs have been made elsewhere, easing the state from Thursday night.
Authorities have been blaming the extension of tough curbs in Melbourne on the Kappa variant, which was first detected in India, and was described as a contagious strain, although new cases have remained in single digits for eight days in a row.
A total of four new locally acquired cases were reported on Friday, versus three a day earlier.
Australia was largely helped by the snap lockdowns, regional border restrictions and strict social distancing rules and this enabled them to rein in prior outbreaks and kept its COVID-19 numbers relatively low at just over 30,100 cases and 910 deaths.
About 20% of Australia’s adult population have received their first vaccine dose, with nearly 4.8 million total shots being administered so far.