— Health

Victoria lockdown, 5 new cases: Alarming Covid variant has state on edge

Victoria is on edge after a “disturbing” new variant of Covid-19 was discovered — and an urgent search is now taking place.

Authorities confirmed yesterday that the “Delta” strain had been found in seven people in Melbourne — including three children. Victoria recorded five new locally acquired coronavirus cases today, with 69 points linked to the state’s outbreak.

Authorities will explain the cases in a press conference later today.

Positive cases were detected among more than 36,000 tests.

B. 1.617.2, the Delta strain, is the same coronavirus strain that decimated India.

It is also a significant cause for concern in the United Kingdom.

US-based epidemiologist Eric Feighl-Ding explained the Delta variant was 50-70 percent more transmissible, and patients were 2.7x more likely to be hospitalized than other variants.

Covid variant

He said about 75 percent of all cases in the UK were the Delta variant.

An urgent search is underway to find the source in Melbourne after genetic testing showed the strain had infected at least two people in a family of four who traveled to NSW’s Jervis Bay in late May.

Officials have refused the rule out whether the virus could have originated in NSW or regional Victoria.

“It is a variant of significant concern,” Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said on Friday. “It’s a concern that it is not linked to other cases, but we are chasing down all those primary case contacts.” Meanwhile, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard hit back at suggestions that Victoria’s new Covid-19 variant may have originated in his state.

Mr. Hazzard said there was no evidence the family picked up the variant in NSW.

“I’ll just say it’s a bit unhelpful to go making any statements that could be either interpreted or mistakenly interpreted (in that way),” Mr. Hazzard told 2GB.

“There is no evidence that this family picked up the variant in NSW.

Professor Sharon Lewin from the Doherty Institute told ABC News this morning that there is concern over the “Kappa” variation – which has also emerged in Covid-stricken India.

Professor Lewin said both are about “double as infectious” as the UK variant “Alpha”.

“The Delta variant, this new cluster reported yesterday, is dominant in the UK, and they’ve had some Kappa virus infection,” Professor Lewin began.

“The data is perfect from that country, and the genomic sequencing is frequent. We do know that both of those variants are more infectious than the UK variant, which is now called the Alpha variant,” she explained.

“The estimates are that they’re probably about double as infectious. So, for every person that one person would have infected – two people previously – they’d perhaps infect double that now.”

She added that the severity of the illness was “a lot less clear” based on anecdotal reports.

“You need some very systematic data collection to prove disease severity, and I’m not sure we’ve seen that yet.” “But the same measures still will work, meaning – test, trace, isolate, masks – all the usual things we use to stop transmission will still work here,” Professor Lewin said.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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