A super infectious strain of COVID-19 that emerged in the United Kingdom has been identified in South Australia for the first time.
Health authorities said the infection had been included in previously reported numbers, and further testing confirmed it was the mutated virus.
In a statement released on Sunday evening, SA Health said the case was in a quarantined traveller who had recently returned from the UK.
“The genomic sequencing indicates the case is carrying the variant of COVID-19, which has emerged in South East England,” it said.
“There is no evidence that this variant of the virus causes more severe disease.”
The patient was transferred from a medi-hotel to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for treatment and is in a stable condition.
The new strain was first identified in the English county of Kent in September and was announced by the UK’s health secretary earlier this month.
Medical authorities believe the strain, which is rapidly taking hold in the region, could be up to 70 per cent more infectious.
Despite stricter restrictions, the number of new cases there continues to soar.
The South Australian infection means at least five cases of the strain have been detected in Australia, with all in hotel quarantine.
But federal health authorities have said they are not planning on imposing tougher restrictions on flights from the UK, as other countries have done, because the Australian quarantine system is effective.
Also on Sunday, SA Health confirmed two new coronavirus cases in hotel quarantine in a man and woman who are both in their 30s.
Testing confirmed that one of the cases was an old infection; however, it was included in overall numbers because it was the first time the patient had returned a positive test.
It brings the total number of active cases in the state to five – all acquired overseas and now isolating in hotel quarantine.