Sydney, Australia, Dec 22 (efe-epa).- Australia on Tuesday raised to four the number of cases linked to the hyper-contagious mutant Covid-19 strain.
The new cases of the fast-spreading virus have sparked health concerns even as flights continue to repatriate Australians stranded in the United Kingdom, where the new coronavirus variant was first detected.
However, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly avoided giving details of the people infected by the new strain.
Kelly was addressing a press conference, a day after the first two cases of the variant were detected in Australia.
Health authorities detected the four cases in quarantine centers for people from abroad. The health authorities did not reveal where these travelers had come from.
Kelly defended the quarantine system implemented to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, stressing that “it has been very effective.”
“Everyone coming from the UK is going into 14 days of hotel quarantine and they are of no risk as that quarantine works so successfully,” Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told reporters.
On Dec.14, British Health Minister Matt Hancock warned about a “new variant” of the virus that spreads very quickly. The variant was first identified in the United Kingdom.
Hancock said British scientists had detected “a new variant of coronavirus that may be associated with the more rapid spread in southern England.”
The situation has led several countries to ban flights to and from the United Kingdom. The British government has also imposed harsh restrictions to curb the spread.
The authorities in New South Wales imposed a lockdown last week in Sydney’s northern beaches area.
The fresh restrictions to confine some 250,000 people from Saturday until Wednesday midnight were imposed after a new cluster centered on two restaurants in the seaside suburb of Avalon.
The authorities have identified some 90 locations, including cafes, gyms, casinos, and supermarkets across Sydney, the NSW capital, as having been visited by infected people.
Australia has a total of 28,198 coronavirus cases, including 908 fatalities due to the virus.
The state of Victoria is the worst-affected in the country with more than 20,300 infections. Some 820 fatalities out of a total of deaths in the Oceanic nation are from the state. EFE-EPA