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Bottlenecks for Vic virus tests, returnees

Victorian authorities believe the state is on a "very positive trajectory" with the Black Rock coronavirus cluster, which is up to 24 cases.

Testing commander Jeroen Weimar at a the four-day mark of Victoria's latest COVID-19 outbreak, they are on track to keep it under control.

It took less than 24 hours to identify the Buffalo Smile Thai restaurant as the critical link between cases, with a growing number of exposure sites quickly identified after that.

Latest exposure sites include a Boost Juice at Chadstone, a Puffing Billy railway stop in emerald and a Sikh temple in Keysborough.

The Grape and Grain cellars in Moorabbin was also upgraded as an exposure site on Monday. It is one of 13 sites linked to the cluster where anyone who has visited in a defined period must be tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days.

Visitors to another 29 sites must be tested immediately and quarantine until they have a negative result.

A third category carries a warning where anyone who develops symptoms should go for testing, and this includes more than 50 sites.

All positive cases in the cluster - which genomic testing shows seeded from NSW - have been tied back to the Black Rock restaurant in bayside Melbourne.

Mr Weimar has supported the rapid decision to shut down the border with NSW, forcing more than 60,000 people to cut short holiday plans and rush home to Victoria.

"We're not dealing with a game where the goalposts don't move - they moved radically on New Year's Eve when we saw the virus imported from NSW here in Victoria at Black Rock," Mr Weimar told Melbourne's 3AW radio.

"We can't just ignore that and say we don't want to play by the rules we've always had."

More than 1000 close contacts of those infected are in self-isolation while they and thousands of returned travellers are flocking for testing.

Wait times have reduced significantly since Friday and Saturday, but people waited for up to four hours at some Melbourne sites on Monday.

From 32,468 tests processed on Sunday, Victoria recorded three new cases tied to Black Rock and one more in hotel quarantine, taking total active cases to 36.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said another 10,000 tests were already in the laboratory, on top of a 50 per cent increase in testing from Saturday.

"It's a very strong set of numbers," Ms Allan told reporters.

Some testing sites were forced to extend hours and recall staff from holidays to meet demand. By Monday, more than 200 locations were open cross the state.

Meanwhile, thousands of Victorians who missed the brief window to return to Victoria before the NSW border slammed shut are still waiting to hear back from authorities.

Mr Weimar said more than 2300 applications had been received for exemptions to cross the NSW, with 175 processed to date.

Medical exemptions are being processed quickly but others are taking 24 to 48 hours, he said.

People considering returning in the coming weeks are encouraged to apply in advance.

Despite Monday's improved figures on either side of the border, Ms Allan indicated Victoria would not rush to reopen to NSW.

Agriculture workers who live and work between NSW and Victoria and are not covered by existing border bubble arrangements can now apply for a permit.

The Victorian government on Monday announced the immediate rollout of the permit, with those workers only allowed to leave their accommodation for takeaway, bathroom stops, medical care, coronavirus testing or an emergency.

© AAP 2021