Melbourne, June 04 (KMS): Australian health officials say that the new Delta coronavirus variant which originated in India has been detected in Melbourne.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the Delta variant had been identified in two cases.
He said the cases were “unrelated to all of the other cases in our cluster thus far in Melbourne”.
He said the variant was “infamous” in India and the United Kingdom, and was a variant of “significant concern”.
It had not previously been detected in Australia.
“It is a variant of significant concern,” Professor Sutton said.
“It spread extremely rapidly across India, it’s become the predominant variant, indeed almost the exclusive variant there, and in surrounding countries.”
“It has not been linked to any sequenced cases across Australia from hotel quarantine or anywhere else.”
The Delta strain was detected in members of a family that is known to have travelled from Melbourne to parts of New South Wales, including Jervis Bay and Goulburn.
Several service stations in Wallan, Euroa, and Glenrowan, where the family stopped on May 24 en route to New South Wales are listed as exposure sites.
The possibility that the family picked up the Delta strain while in New South Wales has not been ruled out.
“But five or six days [of incubation] does put it potentially in New South Wales, Jervis Bay territory or indeed earlier, back in Victoria,” Professor Sutton said.
Health officials were working under the theory that the virus was spread between a child from that family and another child at their school in North Melbourne.
“We suspect so, but we need to look further, but that’s the likely transmission at the moment,” he said.
Professor Sutton said there was anecdotal evidence that the Delta strain may be both more transmissible in children, and lead to a greater severity of illness in children.