Two additional local cases have been reported in Australia’s COVID-19 hotspot.

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Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, reported two new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising worries about how long a strict lockdown in the state’s capital, Melbourne, should last.

Two more local cases have been recorded, bringing Victoria’s total to 72, including one recovered case, in the epidemic, which began in late May when a man who tested negative in hotel quarantine in Adelaide returned to Melbourne and tested positive.

Health authorities are particularly alarmed about the emergence of the highly infectious Delta variant this week. They have so far been unable to trace the source, sparking concern that the lockdown in Melbourne may need to be extended.

The Delta variation, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as one of four COVID-19 variations of concern due to indications that it spreads more easily, is believed to be to blame for the recent disastrous epidemic in India.

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With snap lockdowns, strong border controls, and social isolation, Australia has been largely effective in managing the virus. Victoria has been responsible for two-thirds of the country’s more than 30,100 COVID-19 cases and 90 percent of the 910 deaths since the epidemic began last year.



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