News State Victoria News Two new coronavirus cases identified in Victoria
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Two new coronavirus cases identified in Victoria

There remains eight confirmed cases linked to an outbreak in Melbourne this week. Photo: AAP
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Two more Victorians with reported links to a bayside Thai restaurant have tested positive to coronavirus in NSW.

The duo left Victoria on December 30 and travelled to the south coast, visiting a hotel and cafe before getting tested in NSW, that state’s chief health officer Kerry Chant said on Friday.

The two are back in Victoria now and understood to be among 170 close contacts of eight earlier locally transmitted cases, believed to be linked back to outbreaks in NSW.

It was not immediately clear when they were notified about being close contacts.

About 200 people have been identified as close contacts of the confirmed cases, and have been told to self-isolate.

Earlier, Department of Health and Human Services testing commander Jeroen  Weimar said the signs were “positive” that transmission of the virus was being stopped.

Health Minister Martin Foley said genomic testing was underway to confirm the source of the new Victorian outbreak.

It is suspected that a Victorian who returned from NSW before border restrictions were introduced last month may have brought the virus home.

“The NSW link is still our primary line of investigation for this outbreak,” Mr Foley said.

“We expect genomic testing to come through very shortly and to assist us in confirming the lines of inquiry for our investigation.”

The cases, which first emerged on Wednesday night, ended a 60-day streak without infections for Victoria.

All are directly or indirectly linked to the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Black Rock on December 21, which was attended by a NSW returned traveller.

That traveller returned before border permits were in place and was being tested on Thursday.

Two more Victorians with reported links to a bayside Thai restaurant have tested positive to coronavirus in NSW.

The duo left Victoria on December 30 and travelled to the south coast, visiting a hotel and cafe before getting tested in NSW, that state’s chief health officer Kerry Chant said on Friday.

The two are back in Victoria now and understood to be among 170 close contacts of eight earlier locally transmitted cases, believed to be linked back to outbreaks in NSW.

It was not immediately clear when they were notified about being close contacts.

Premier Daniel Andrews is confident about Victoria’s capacity to handle the new clusters.

“We always knew there would be cases and clusters,” Mr Andrews, currently on leave, posted on Facebook on Thursday.

“We have plans and systems in place to deal with precisely this scenario – and those are already well underway.

“I know this will be tough to take. Victorians have been through a lot this year and sacrificed so much.

“But we will get through it – together.”

Mr Weimar said early information indicated a potential exposure window between December 17 and 19.

The state’s hard border with NSW will start from 11.59pm on Friday.

Anyone who arrives back in Victoria from anywhere in NSW on Friday has to be tested and go into isolation for 14 days.

After that, returning Victorians will go into hotel quarantine.

Acting premier Jacinta Allan apologised for the border closure but said Victorians who are in NSW should not be surprised.

“We have been sending a very strong message for the better part of a week-and-a-half … advising people to think very carefully about their travel to NSW,” Ms Allan said on Thursday.

“These difficult decisions are about protecting the community, protecting and keeping case numbers low and doing everything we can to lock in the gains we have made over the course of 2020.”

Masks are also mandatory indoors and the number of visitors allowed in Victorian homes is down to 15 from 30, she said.

Health Minister Martin Foley on Thursday urged Victorians not to travel to NSW and for any Victorians in the previous NSW green zone to return immediately.

“You do not want to be caught on the wrong side of a rapidly evolving situation,” he said.

Victorians can continue to return from Canberra with a green zone permit, while more details will be announced for border communities and people who are travelling through NSW to return to Victoria.

-with AAP