Victoria's contact tracers are now fighting a battle on two fronts, after genomic testing revealed a family in west Melbourne contracted the newly dubbed "Delta variant" of COVID-19.
The state is already working to contain an outbreak of the "Kappa" version of the virus, which seeped out of hotel quarantine in Adelaide back in early May before being carried to north Melbourne. It is those cases that plunged the state into a circuit breaker lockdown, which was this week extended until June 10 for the Melbourne metro area.
But the diagnoses in west Melbourne are entirely distinct. And that has authorities on edge.
Not only is the Delta variant highly infectious (it's responsible for surging case numbers in India and the UK), it's also unclear how the Victorian family contracted it.
So far, 10 positive COVID-19 cases have been linked to this cluster, and more than 300 primary contacts have been identified. They are now being isolated and tested as a priority.
On Sunday, Victoria recorded four new local cases of COVID-19, including one linked to the West Melbourne outbreak.
Of the four new cases, one is a 79-year-old resident at the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility and another is an agency registered nurse. Both parties are said to be asymptomatic.
The other two cases include an employee of Stratton Finance in Port Melbourne and a teacher from the North Melbourne Primary school, which is linked to the cluster.
Both the teacher and finance worker were already isolating.
Reported yesterday: 2 new local cases and 6 new cases acquired overseas (currently in HQ).— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) June 5, 2021
- 19,940 vaccine doses were administered
- 29,816 test results were received
More later: https://t.co/lIUrl0ZEco
#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/5mgiIWYPYy
Let's take a look at the Delta variant and what we know about these mysterious new cases.
First, what is the 'Delta variant' exactly?
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is a version of the virus first detected in India in October 2020. It's now the dominant variant both there and in the United Kingdom.