4 New COVID Cases Recorded in Victoria, 3 Local

By AAP
January 4, 2021 Updated: January 5, 2021

Victoria has recorded three new locally acquired COVID-19 cases for a third straight day, and another strong testing figure.

A total of four new infections have been reported in Victoria on Jan. 5, including one case in hotel quarantine.

The new cases came from 32,544 tests, a marginal increase from Monday’s figure with wait times reducing significantly as testing capacity ramped up further.

The state’s number of active cases stands at 38.

The daily update comes as a stranded family with a disabled child and another with special needs remain among the thousands of Victorians seeking an exemption to return from NSW.

More than 2300 applications have been made for exemptions to cross the NSW border after it slammed shut on Friday night, with only 175 processed on Sunday.

Testing commander Jeroen Weimar said medical exemptions are being processed quickly but others are taking 24 to 48 hours.

Former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has revealed a family stuck on the NSW south coast contacted him in a bid to expedite their border exemption.

“I’ve been dealing with a constituent of mine,” Shorten told Nine’s Today.

“Her and her husband they’ve got a disabled child and another child with special needs.

“Far better to have this child, this 11-year-old, looked (after) at home, rather than stuck in south coast NSW.”

The former federal opposition leader said he would be “hitting the phones” on Tuesday to ensure their exemption was sorted out.

He said the exemption system “doesn’t seem to be working the way it should” and implored Victoria’s health department to speed up the assessment process.

“Let’s just get it done quickly,” Shorten said.

“A whole lot of Victorians on holiday (have been) caught off guard, no chance to sort this out.

“We need now the administrative follow-up to help make sure people are not stranded in some really tough circumstances, like the lady I’m talking about.”

Victorian health authorities are confident the Black Rock coronavirus cluster is on a “very positive trajectory”.

As of Monday, 24 cases were directly linked to the outbreak—all connected to the Buffalo Smile Thai restaurant in bayside Melbourne and linked back to a cluster in NSW.

More than 1000 primary and secondary contacts are isolating and a growing number of exposure sites have been identified.

Callum Godde, Karen Sweeney in Melbourne