Coronavirus: Expert discusses Wuhan 'pangolin origin'
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The mutation has been spreading throughout Victoria, with 34 active cases reported. More than 10,000 people in the state of Victoria have been advised to quarantine after coming in close contact with the variant.
Health authorities in the region have been asking residents to comply with measures set out as part of a circuit-breaker lockdown.
Acting Premier James Merlino confirmed 34 active cases of the pathogen in Victoria.
Of those infected, 26 are cases connected to a hotel quarantine leak in South Australia.
Mr Merlino warned that the new variant of concern is highly transmissible.
He added that the strain is currently spreading at a rate never seen before.
The Acting Premier said: “In the last day, we’ve seen more evidence we’re dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern, which is running faster than we have ever recorded.
“We have identified in excess of 10,000 primary and secondary contacts who will need to either quarantine, or test and isolate, and that number will continue to grow and change.
“Our public health experts’ primary concern is how fast this variant is moving.
“We’ve seen overseas how difficult that movement can be to control.”
He added that, in Victoria, authorities are “seeing not only how quick it is, but how contagious it is as well”.
Mr Merlino stressed that if more people were getting vaccinated against the virus, the situation in Victoria would not be as dire.
He warned that unless “drastic” measures are taken, the situation would become “increasingly uncontrollable”.
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Mr Merlino said: “If we make the wrong choice now, if we wait too long, this thing will get away from us.
“The number of cases has doubled in 24 hours. Unless something drastic happens, this will become increasingly uncontrollable.
“With 10,000 primary and secondary contacts, new cases and more than 150 exposure sites right around the state of Victoria, we need to act now.”
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