279 new COVID-19 cases in Victoria, as state’s death toll passes 300

Sixteen more Victorians have died from COVID-19, with the death toll across the state passing 300 since the pandemic began.

There was 279 new cases of coronavirus announced on Sunday morning, continuing the state's downward trend of cases over the past week.

The Department of Health and Human Services said on Twitter there had been a "slight delay in processing overnight", meaning case numbers would be released later than usual, but the issue had been fixed.

Victoria has recorded 101 deaths from the virus in the past week. With 16 additional deaths from COVID-19 announced on Sunday morning, the day's death toll marked a significant jump in deaths compared to Saturday.

There were 303 COVID-19 cases announced on Saturday, with only four deaths across the state.

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Suttons said that Saturday's death toll of four was "probably just a blip", warning there were still more than 2000 active cases linked to aged care.

But he said the state's restrictions were beginning to impact case numbers, with the reproduction (R) number – or the number of other people that a COVID-positive person infects – was likely below one.

“We are seeing the fruits of our very difficult restrictions,” Professor Sutton said.

“Our new outbreaks every day are in single figures now. At one point in time, there were 20 or 30 new outbreaks every day. We are at four or five now each day, which is another positive sign.

When it comes to a COVID-19 vaccine in Australia, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was "genuinely optimistic" a vaccine will be on the international market by 2021, with the federal government close to reaching a deal to produce it in Australia.

Mr Hunt said on Sunday he had been cautious in the past that attempts to create a vaccine would be successful but he said the latest medical advice was that there had been great progress.

"The world is moving closer to a vaccine, and it's unlikely that it will just be one, it's likely that it will be many," Mr Hunt told Sky News Australia.

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