Reuters, 4 June, 2021- Australia’s Victoria state authorities said on Friday they had detected the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 virus variant for the first time in the latest outbreak in Melbourne, stoking concerns of a major spike in cases.
The Delta variant, which has been classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as among the four COVID-19 variants of concern due to evidence that they spread more easily, likely caused the latest devastating outbreak in India.
“It is a variant of significant concern,” Victoria state Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told 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 the new variant had not been linked to any sequenced COVID-19 infections across Australia from hotel quarantine or elsewhere. “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,” Sutton said.
The Delta variant was detected in two members in a family who travelled to neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) two weeks ago while likely infectious and visited several popular tourist locations in the state’s south.