Number of COVID-Delta Strain Infections Grows as Officials Consider Home Quarantine as a Potential Source

June 7, 2021 Updated: June 7, 2021

Four of Victoria’s new COVID-19 cases are of the more infectious Delta variant, with Health Minister Martin Foley confirming on Monday the cases were linked to the state’s outbreak of the Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, which began in the suburb of West Melbourne.

The cases are three children and an adult and bring the total number of cases in the outbreak to 14.

State testing commander Jeroen Weimar said more than 5800 people were placed in quarantined after coming into contact with a positive case, while there were 350 exposure sites across Victoria.

Authorities still don’t know how the Delta variant has spread in Melbourne.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said authorities were combing genomic sequencing data from across the country for answers.

The virus is suspected of having leaked from hotel quarantine or from a returned traveller who was provided with an exemption to isolate at home.

Among those allowed to quarantine at home are foreign diplomats.

Asked if a diplomat may have spread the virus, Sutton replied: “We simply don’t know. I wouldn’t rule anything in or out.

“We are obviously checking against everyone who is tested, and diplomats should be tested as well.”

Sutton said about 10 people had received an exemption to quarantine at home in Victoria since the beginning of April.

He said with no new exposure sites linked to the 11 new cases, Melbourne’s lockdown was on track to end at 11.59 p.m. on Thursday.

But Sutton ruled out a return to the relaxed restrictions in place before the outbreak.

“It is certainly not a snap-back to large gatherings and a full MCG,” he said.

“It’s not something I can speak to now. It’s early days still. It’s frustrating; people want to know what things will look like three days from now.

“(But) we see different changes every day, and they can be something from left field.”

Some 24,265 Victorians were tested on Sunday, and 17,719 received a vaccine dose at state-run sites.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday announced an additional 100,000 vaccines were being made available for Victoria.

The federal government has also extended its suspension of JobSeeker mutual obligation requirements until June 15.