Victoria has recorded three new locally-acquired cases of the coronavirus, all linked to the known Black Rock cluster in Melbourne.
The total number of active cases in the state now, including those in hotel quarantine, stands at 32.
The three cases were recorded from over 22,000 tests, with Acting Premier Jacinta Allan saying Victorians could take “great comfort” in Sunday’s numbers.
“The public health advice is that Victorians should take great comfort from the fact that these are linked cases, they’re known to us, there’s been strong work by our tracing team,” she said.
“Three new cases, all linked, is a strong and positive sign about where Victoria is today, in terms of managing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It comes after the state on Saturday recorded 10 new locally acquired cases of the virus.
The cluster, centred around a Thai restaurant in Melbourne’s coastal suburb of Black Rock, has been genomically linked to the Sydney outbreak of the virus.
All of Victoria’s known locally acquired cases either dined at the restaurant on 21 December, or are close contacts of those who dined at the restaurant.
There are about 220 close contacts of the cases in quarantine, while authorities continue to try to determine the source of the cluster.
Meanwhile, there have been long lines at Victorian COVID-19 testing sites with people reporting a wait of up to five hours to be tested.
The Victorian government has urged people to be patient, as they increase the number of sites available to the public and extend operating hours.
Ms Allan said there were over 190 testing sites operational on Sunday, and testing turn-around times remained positive.
About 88 per cent of people have received their test results within 24 hours and 99 per cent of people within 48 hours, she said.
Victorian testing manager Jeroen Weimar said many staff were being brought back from leave early to meet the growing demand for testing in the state.
Just five days ago, the state had been on a two-month streak of no community transmission, but now Victoria has closed its border with NSW and reinstated rules mandating the wearing of masks indoors.
Health Minister Martin Foley earlier acknowledged the widespread disruption created by closing Victoria’s border with NSW, but made no apologies.
“Given all that we’ve sacrificed last year, I don’t think Victorians would expect anything else from the government that wants to keep their safety and their wellbeing as its first priority,” he said.
The only people who can now freely cross from NSW to Victoria are essential workers, such as freight drivers, and border community members along the Murray River with permits.
Others must apply for an exemption, and about 1,500 people had as of Sunday done so.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Victoria was in “a much stronger place” with dramatically improved systems since the 2002 crisis but urged the state to help bring Victorians home.
Victoria is now closed to all travellers from NSW, with some Victorian residents complaining they are unable to get home.
“We’re confident that Victoria will work and find ways to bring people home to their home state,” Mr Hunt said.
With reporting by AAP.
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