'Very quickly': New 'risk' sparks Melbourne playground closures

Authorities are concerned by the large number of children in Victoria that have tested positive for Covid-19 during the current outbreak.

On Tuesday, Victoria recorded 24 new Covid-19 cases after receiving 31,519 tests. Ten of the new cases were out in the community while infectious. Three of the cases are under investigation and the source is a mystery.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton revealed there are 50 active cases of Covid-19 among children under the age of 10.

He said there is a chance there was transmission of the virus among children in a playground.

The closure of all Melbourne playgrounds was part of a set of new lockdown restrictions that were introduced from 11.59pm on Monday.

Victoria recorded 24 new cases on Tuesday, after the new restrictions for locked-down Melbourne kicked in overnight. Source: AAP
Victoria recorded 24 new cases on Tuesday, after the new restrictions for locked-down Melbourne kicked in overnight. Source: AAP

The potential playground transmission is not “definitive” and remains under investigation, however Professor Sutton also flagged a more definitive case of transmission in children.

"We have also seen transmission between students who were not in classes together who did not have face-to-face reaction other than walking home," he said. 

"Didn't play together, shared an outdoor walk home and transmitted between them. That is more definitive. The risk is there. We want to minimise every single opportunity in order to get ahead of this."

He said the children did not play together, have classes together or live together.

Prof Sutton said transmissions in households among children happen "very quickly".

Victoria's 'short term' solution to stop Covid spread

Premier Daniel Andrews has given Victorians short and long-term goals to help Melbourne out of lockdown.

"Vaccination will be our way out of this, in the long term, getting tested as soon as you register symptoms is our way of getting out of this in the short term," the premier said.

Melbourne’s lockdown was extended once again on Monday, with restrictions tightened, including a curfew, and permits required for authorised workers.

The tighter restrictions for the state's capital kicked in at 11.59pm on Monday.

Premier slams 'evil' commentary

Mr Andrews denounced the anti-Semitic commentary surrounding an illegal engagement party held last week.

The party is being investigated by police and the 69 people who attended the party will likely be charged. Six of the guests have tested positive for Covid.

The premier said anti-semitism is “evil and unacceptable” and while he said the party was a “stupid function” he stressed it did not reflect the broader Jewish community.

“There's no sense that anyone needs to be harassing anybody and there is never, ever, a place in Victoria for anti semitic behaviour or language, it's simply evil,” he said.

Prof Sutton said any hate directed at a community, whether it be due to an individual’s ethnic background or language, is “disruptive”.

Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton said the issue of the engagement party should be left up to the police.

He said those from the party are being cooperative with police.

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