Victorian health authorities have confirmed a new variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in the Melbourne family who travelled through Jervis Bay in late May.
Victoria Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton told reporters genomic testing showed the family were infected with the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, which is the dominant strain found in India and increasingly in the United Kingdom.
He also confirmed the variant has not been detected in the community anywhere else in Australia.
"It's obviously a concern that it's not linked," said Professor Sutton in a press conference Friday, June 4.
"The fact that it is a variant different to other cases it means it is not related, in terms of transmission, with these cases. It has not been linked to any sequence cases across Australia from hotel quarantine or anywhere else that it is not linked in Victoria or any other jurisdiction."
Asked whether it was likely the variant was picked up within New South Wales, Professor Sutton responded it "is within the bounds of possibility."
He said officials are now investigating who was the first person infected and whether the cases are linked to a different leak out of hotel quarantine.
"In terms of the ongoing sequencing, we will try to look at all other sequences, re-sequenced to the fullest extent possible across Australia to see if there are any potential linkages to known cases and that includes those who have come through formal quarantine but also anyone else, maritime, airline, diplomatic and others," he said.
"It is a concern that it is not linked to other cases but we are chasing down all those primary case contacts for that family and looking into where it might have been acquired."
Professor Sutton revealed the Victorian Government "suspected" the strain was spread by a fifth grade primary school student with seven individuals including family members linked to the cluster.
He said "transmission between students has always been known".
300 further close contacts in Victoria have been contacted with no positive cases so far.
Over 3,000 tests were conducted in the Illawarra Shoalhaven district over the past 48 hours. No new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in NSW.
For the latest information visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates
To find local testing clinic locations and opening hours visit the District's website at www.ISLHD.health.nsw.gov.au.
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