Victoria reported five new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, as the state continued to fight the outbreak that forced Melbourne into its second week of lockdown.
The new cases, recorded from 36,362 tests on day nine of Melbourne’s fourth lockdown come as health officials said on Friday they had no intention of ending the extended lockdown early, despite two cases of it that was described as “fleeting transmission” were reclassified as false. positive this week.
Three of Victoria’s four new cases on Friday were members of a family that was reported to have traveled to New South Wales.
The strain of the virus, the infectious Delta variant that has become the predominant form of the virus in Covid-ravaged India, had been detected in the family of four, who returned to Victoria from the South Coast tourist mecca of New South Wales, Jervis Bay, last week.
On Friday, Victoria Health Director Brett Sutton said genomic sequencing had revealed that the cases linked to that outbreak were from a separate strain from the rest of the outbreak in the state, which was linked to the Kappa variant.
At a press conference he raised the possibility that the family had contracted the virus in New South Wales, something he called “a very significant concern.”
“No case of sequence has been linked to in Australia since a hotel quarantine or anywhere else,” he said.
But New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard rejected that claim, saying in an interview on Sydney radio station 2gb that there was “no evidence” that the family had contracted the virus in the state.
“Nobody knows where they got this from, in particular, accurate [variant] of, ”he said.