The Ministry of Health has detected six more cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, taking the total cases to 17 thus far.

In a release yesterday, the ministry said one case is an unvaccinated national minor who recently travelled to Trinidad from New York.

However, the other five cases have no recent history of travel, including one unvaccinated minor.

This suggests local spread is taking hold within the country.

The presence of the Delta variant was confirmed via gene sequencing at the laboratory of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies, the ministry said.

The ministry said all the patients have been placed in isolation and contact tracing, testing and quarantining of contacts has been initiated.

Just last week, the ministry confirmed three localised Delta cases had been discovered.

One of them was an unvaccinated minor who most likely contracted it during a family gathering.

The ministry noted that research has suggested that the Delta variant is more easily spread from person to person than previous variants (estimated to be two to four times more transmissible than the original Wuhan lineage of the virus).

Additionally, it said evidence indicates that individuals who have contracted this variant may be prone to an increased risk of severe illness and hospitalisation.

Also yesterday, the ministry confirmed that six more people had died from the virus.

It also revealed that there had been 127 new cases within the 24-hour reporting period.