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Concern over mystery cases in suburbs surrounding illegal party

There have been five positive cases linked to the party in addition to the original positive case who attended.

Fourteen of Tuesday’s new cases were in quarantine for the entirety of their infectious period and 21 new infections are linked to the current outbreak.

Andrews slams anti-Semitism

Mr Andrews has stressed that the party attended by dozens of people in the state’s Jewish community last week was not a reflection on that community as a whole.

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“We called out some bad behaviour yesterday, we didn’t call [out] a community, because that would be simply unfair and wrong, and it’s clearly evidenced by the fact that so many Jewish community leaders are stepping up and have condemned what occurred, and have done so in the clearest terms,” he said.

“I’ve spoken with many of them in the last 36 hours. And I thank them for their leadership.”

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he was horrified to see anti-Semitic hate directed at the community.

“It is incredibly disruptive to vilify individuals in terms of getting to where we need to be,” he said.

The comments came after a Royal Melbourne Hospital staff member was fired after making anti-Semitic comments online.

In a statement, the hospital said it had been made aware of a support staff member who had made “abhorrent and disgraceful” comments on Facebook.

“The comment does not reflect our values. We do not tolerate racial or religious hatred, contempt or ridicule,” a hospital spokesperson said. “The staff member is no longer an employee of the hospital and we apologise for the hurt and anger this has caused.

“We stand with and support our Jewish staff members, patients and community.”

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said there was no point in scapegoating people.

“The vast majority of Victorians make good decisions, a small minority have made bad decisions,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It doesn’t matter what part of Victoria they live in, doesn’t matter if they go to a church, a mosque, a synagogue or temple or nowhere. It doesn’t matter which footy team they go for,”

Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, praised the swift actions of the hospital in sending a strong message that anti-Semitism would not be tolerated.

“As this pandemic disrupts and takes a toll on our lives, we are seeing the outright scapegoating and the pointing of fingers at the Jewish community for this extended lockdown spiral out of control,” Mr Abramovich said.

“There is never any excuse or justification for this kind of disturbing and ugly rhetoric.”

Tape blocks off access to swings at Basterfield Park in Hampton East on Tuesday, as stricter COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in Melbourne.

Tape blocks off access to swings at Basterfield Park in Hampton East on Tuesday, as stricter COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in Melbourne.

Potential COVID-19 transmission at playground

Professor Sutton said authorities were also investigating a potential COVID-19 transmission at one of the state’s playgrounds.

There are currently 50 children under 10 in Victoria who have COVID-19. He warned that authorities had seen child-to-child transmission between students “who didn’t have any other face-to-face interaction, other than sharing a walk home, didn’t play together, don’t live together, didn’t have classes together, shared an outdoor walk home”.

“It happens very quickly in households between children, and we are investigating a potential transmission in a playground,” he said.

Professor Sutton said the decision to close playgrounds again was difficult – and affected his family as well as thousands of other families around Melbourne – but the risk of transmission in children was clear.

Plea for higher levels of testing

Mr Andrews said testing levels were not high enough and authorities were concerned there were cases they did not know about.

In the 24 hours to midnight on Monday, more than 31,500 COVID-19 test results were processed in Victoria, and more than 25,700 people received their vaccine doses at state-run clinics.

The state recorded one new overseas-acquired coronavirus case in hotel quarantine.

Curfew tough but will work: Andrews

Mr Andrews said the re-introduction of a night curfew was tough but would work as a measure to drive down movement in the community.

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The curfew for Melburnians between 9pm and 5am came into effect at 11.59pm on Monday.

“[If] you’re in breach of the curfew, police will issue fines, and that does drive down movement,” Mr Andrews said.

“And that’s tough, but it works – it’s worked before, and it’ll work again.”

Carrum Downs kindergarten, bus routes added as exposure sites

The Victorian Health Department added about a dozen new exposure sites on Tuesday, including an early learning centre in Melbourne’s south-east, a pizza outlet in Malvern East and a bus route in the city’s south-west.

A person with COVID-19 attended the Goodstart Early Learning centre in Hall Road, Carrum Downs, last Wednesday between 3pm and 3.40pm and there were two additional exposure periods on Friday between 8.10am and 8.50am and 5.20pm and 6.10pm.

As tier one sites, anyone who attended these venues at the specified times needs to get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from their day of exposure, regardless of the result.

Two tier 2 sites were also added, the Woolworths at Lygon Court in Carlton and the McDonald’s at the corner of Blackshaws and Millers road in Altona.

Anyone who attended these venues at the specified times needs to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result. There are currently more than 500 entries on the official list of exposure sites.

NSW reported one COVID-19 death and 452 new local cases on Tuesday, as health authorities revealed 75 per cent of the new infections were aged under 40.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there would be a “vaccination blitz” in south-west and western Sydney.

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Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a three-day nationwide lockdown after a 58-year-old man from Auckland tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Ms Ardern said Auckland will remain in lockdown for seven days.

“I want to assure New Zealand that we have planned for this eventuality and that we will now be putting in place that plan to contain and stamp out COVID-19 once again,” she said.

“Going hard and early has worked for us before.

With Sumeyya Ilanbey and David Estcourt

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