/Live breaking news: India variant’s huge threat to Sydney; NSW exposure sites; masks; restrictions; Meghan and Harry share Archie picture

Live breaking news: India variant’s huge threat to Sydney; NSW exposure sites; masks; restrictions; Meghan and Harry share Archie picture

Live breaking news: India variant poses massive threat to Sydney

Health authorities are racing to investigate a new variant of concern from India that is rapidly spreading abroad and is at the centre of Sydney’s cases. 

news.com.au

May 7, 2021 7:00AM
LIVE

New COVID restrictions for Greater Sydney as state records new locally acquired case

Health authorities are racing to investigate a new “double mutant” variant of concern from India that is rapidly spreading abroad and is at the centre of Sydney’s cases. 

NSW’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, revealed yesterday that the Sydney couple who have tested positive to COVID-19 are the first locally acquired cases of the B.1.617 mutation, with fears at least one other person in the community is unknowingly infected.

“The rate at which (the variant) seems to be spreading in India suggests that it may be transmitted more efficiently than earlier variants of the virus,” University of Sydney virologist Megan Steain told . 

“Quickly performing contact tracing, testing and isolating people potentially exposed individuals will also be key to preventing spread in the community.” 

Follow our live blog for breaking news updates throughout the day.

Archie Harry

As residents across Sydney mask up for the Mother’s Day weekend, health authorities are racing to investigate a new variant of concern from India that is rapidly spreading abroad and is at the centre of the city’s cases.

NSW’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, revealed yesterday that the Sydney couple who have tested positive to COVID-19 are the first locally acquired cases of the B.1.617 mutation, with fears at least one other person in the community is unknowingly infected.

Picture: NCA NewsWire/Christian Gilles

“We can’t find any direct link between our case, so what we’re concerned about is there is another person that is as yet unidentified that infected our case,” Dr Chant said.

She confirmed to authorities yesterday that it’s not considered a variant of concern “at this point”.

But speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, University of Sydney virologist Megan Steain said the rate at which the variant “seems to be spreading in India suggests that it may be transmitted more efficiently than earlier variants of the virus”.

“Quickly performing contact tracing, testing and isolating people potentially exposed individuals will also be key to preventing spread in the community,” she said.

Meghan and Harry share rare picture of Archie

Archie Harry

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have shared a rare photo of their son Archie to Instagram, marching his second birthday.

In celebration, they invited followers of their archewell_hm Instagram page to donate and support people who couldn’t afford to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a separate post, the Duchess of Sussex – currently pregnant with the couple’s second child, a girl – described her son as “magic”, adding that she has “the two best guys in the world, so I’m really happy”.

“The moment you become a father everything really does change because you realise, well, what is the point in bringing a new person into this world when they get to your age and it’s on fire?” Prince Harry said.

“We can’t steal their future. We really can’t. That’s not the job we’re here for. I’ve always believed that hopefully we can leave the world in a better place than when we found it.”

Other members of the royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Charles, also wished Archie a happy birthday on their respective social media pages.

Payne ‘fully expects’ India ban to lift on May 15

Archie Harry

Overnight in London, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the lifting of Australia’s flight ban on Indian arrivals on May 15, as planned, is all but certain.

During discussions with her Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Senator Payne said that based on the health advice at this point “we fully expect it not to extended beyond that date, and we intend for facilitated flights to resume beyond”.

Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

She described the measure – which has been heavily criticised and raised “serious concerns” about human rights – as “a temporary pause of those flights to ensure we can deal with the challenges the surging rate was presenting in India and therefore in arrivals from India”.

“We express again our full support to India, we were pleased to be able to progress the delivery of some important medical supplies that India needed, and in consultation with their authorities, which arrived via Qantas flight yesterday,” Sen Payne said.