Covid-infected family who put NSW holiday spots on alert are revealed to have a new virus variant – as Victoria’s top doctor claims it could have been picked up across the border
- Family-of-four from Melbourne travelled to NSW’s south coast at the end of May
- They later tested positive with the new Indian Delta variant of Covid-19
- Brett Sutton said there is the possibility the strain was picked up in NSW
- Victorian government put under pressure to end Melbourne lockdown early
- Calls come after Victoria reported just four new Covid-19 cases on Friday
A man, his wife and two children had travelled to the Jervis Bay area on the state’s south coast at the end of May before testing positive.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said genomic testing found at least two of the family were infected with the highly-contagious Delta B16172 variant.
The family visited venues in Gundagai, Goulburn, Jervis Bay, Huskisson and Vincentia and were later diagnosed with Covid-19 after returning home.
A Melbourne family-of-four who travelled to New South Wales were infected with the new strain of the Indian Covid-19 virus, (pictured restaurants closed during Melbourne’s lockdown)
The infected man – and his family – visited popular tourist destination Jervis Bay (pictured) on the NSW south coast
Until Friday, authorities have sequenced the cases in the Victorian outbreak to the Kappa B16171 variant – which is thought to be less deadly than the Delta strain.
WHAT IS THE DELTA VARIANT?
The Delta variant is the main variant of Covid-19 that is wreaking havoc across India
Health officials believe the variant has very high transmission rates
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said there’s been reports of children becoming severely sick with the variant
The Delta strain is also believed to be more easily transmitted among children
Nepal, the UK, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have also seen a rise in cases related to the variant
The Delta strain, which originated in India and is now the dominant strain in the UK with 12,431 cases, is thought to be just as infectious as Kappa.
The World Health Organisation on Tuesday said it was clear there were ‘greater public health risks’ associated with the Delta variant.
Professor Sutton said the fact Delta cases were unlinked to the rest of the outbreak meant contact tracers now had to scramble to trace the source of transmission.
He said it was ‘within the bounds of possibility’ the new variant may have been picked up in NSW.
‘It is not unexpected. The average incubation time of (Covid-19) is about six days. There will be individuals who go through a much more rapid transmission cycle, there will be a longer one,’ he said.
‘Five or six days puts it in New South Wales, Jervis Bay territory, or indeed earlier.’
Professor Sutton said the Indian variant appears to be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.
‘There are some anecdotal reports of greater illness in children as well as greater increase transmissibility in children we have concerns for that reason,’ he said.
Health authorities are investigating whether the variant was spread through a child from the family and one of their classmates.
There are fears the outbreak may have spread to NSW after a family from Melbourne went on a roadtrip across NSW
People are seen exercising in Melbourne this week. It’s since been revealed a family-of-four have caught the new Indian Delta strain of coronavirus
NEW NEW SOUTH WALES VENUES EXPOSED TO COVID
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed must immediately call NSW Health on 1800 943 553, get tested and isolate until further information from NSW Health is received.
– Shell Coles Express Big Merino, Goulburn, May 19, 1.45pm-2.05pm
– The Coffee Pedaler, Gundagai, May 19, 9.30am-11.15am
– Green Patch campground, Boodoree National Park, Jervis Bay, 4pm May 19 – 9am May 24
– 5 Little Pigs, Huskisson, May 21, 8am-11.30am
– Huskisson Treasure Chest, May 21, 11.30am-12pm
– Coles Vincentia Shopping Centre, May 21 from 12-1pm, 22 May from 12-1pm
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed must get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
– Gundagai Craft Centre, May 19, 11am-12pm
– Junque and Disorderly Antique Shop, 19 May, 11am-12pm
Four new locally-acquired cases were confirmed in Victoria on Friday, bringing the state’s total active cases to 72.
The Victorian government continues to face calls to end lockdown early after revealing on Wednesday it would be extended in Melbourne until June 10.
The decision to go into lockdown followed health authorities declaring two people, who had only ‘fleeting’ contact with infected cases, tested positive to Covid-19.
The brief interaction raised fears of the highly contagious nature of the Indian strain of the virus and prompted Professor Sutton to dub it an ‘absolute beast’ that was spreading ‘in settings and circumstances we’ve never seen before’.
But on Thursday, the Health Department said the pair were actually virus-free and their test results were false positives.
Media personalities and politicians alike have argued there is no reason to extend the restrictions in light of the revelations.
Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino though has stood firm on the decision to extend the lockdown and said the government will not be backing down.
The famous Big Merino in Goulburn was listed as one of the sites that was exposed to the virus
Four new locally-acquired cases were confirmed in Victoria on Friday, bringing the state’s total active cases to 72 (pictured people walk through a park in Melbourne on Thursday)