Australia's COVID-19 Delta cluster grows

The Australian state of Victoria reported more local COVID-19 cases on Saturday, as authorities scrambled to find the source of a highly infectious variant detected in a new cluster.

Five new local cases were reported, taking the state's total to 70 in the latest outbreak.

Of this, nine were found to be infected with the Delta virus variant, which was first seen in India.

Authorities were alarmed on Friday after detecting the Delta variant for the first time in the country.

It, along with three others, has been classified by the WHO as variants of concern due to evidence it spreads more easily.

The state's capital Melbourne entered its second week of a hard lockdown, which is due to end on June 10.

Those curbs however were eased for the rest of the state on Friday.

Victoria's chief health officer said the Melbourne lockdown could be lifted, as long as all cases have been tracked down, even if the source of the Delta variant had still not been found.

Victoria's outbreak, which began on May 24, has spurred people to join long queues for vaccinations, following a slow rollout since February.

Meanwhile, just 20% of the adult population has had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far.

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