Victoria reported five new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, as the state continued to battle 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 that they had no intention of ending the extended lockdown early, despite two cases of what was described as “fleeting transmission” being reclassified as false positives this week.
Three of Victoria’s four new cases on Friday were members of a family previously reported to have travelled to New South Wales.
The strain of virus – the infectious Delta variant which 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 NSW south coast tourist mecca of Jervis Bay last week.
On Friday the Victorian chief health officer, Brett Sutton, said genomic sequencing had revealed the cases linked to that outbreak were of a separate strain to the rest of the outbreak in the state, which was linked to the Kappa variant.
In a press conference he raised the possibility that the family had caught the virus in NSW, something he called “a very significant concern”.
“It has not been linked to any sequence cases across Australia from hotel quarantine or anywhere else,” he said.
But the NSW health minister, Brad Hazzard, shot down that claim, saying in an interview on the Sydney radio station 2gb that there was “no evidence whatsoever” the family had caught the virus in the state.
“No one knows where they got this, particular, precise [variant] from,” he said.