Vic records 1608 COVID-19 cases

·2-min read

Thousands of mask-wearing fans have rolled up to the MCG for the Boxing Day Test, but those facing a different kind of test have been confronted with long lines again.

More than 70,000 people spent Christmas Day lining up at COVID-19 testing sites across the state, with bad news for 1608 who returned positive results.

Huge queues of people lined up before sites even opened again on Sunday, with many turned away because sites quickly reached capacity.

Case numbers have bounced around in Victoria, but hospitalisations - the new key indicator - are stable.

There are 374 people in hospital, below the seven-day average of 381.

There are 77 patients in intensive care, five more than Saturday and 43 who are ventilated, up one.

And in a statistic where high numbers are welcomed, the MCG welcomed its first 50,000-plus crowd since early May for day one of the Test.

"There have been moments in the last six months where we felt this day could be in doubt, so for us to actually be here - we're just extremely grateful," Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said.

Acting sports minister Jaala Pulford it's the stability in hospitalisations that allowed the tradition to continue.

Since Friday masks have also returned as a feature, including for events over 30,000 people.

But even with masks the crowd at the cricket still looked thrilled to be there, Ms Pulford said.

"That's why we are confident we can have (50,000) people at MCG, loads of other people hitting the shops for the Boxing Day sales and people enjoying their leftovers with family and friends though the course of this week," she said.

Ms Pulford recognised the additional pressure that's been put on testing sites over the past week.

Additional resources have been provided and hours have been adjusted to process results quickly, but she said her heart went out to people who have to miss spending time with loved ones because of delays.

States requiring PCR testing for travellers has added to the demand, she said.

"Each state, as we've done in Victoria over the last couple of years, has to make a judgement about what they believe is best for their citizens," she said.

"No doubt national cabinet will continue to monitor the effectiveness of these arrangements."

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