News Residents at locked-down Victorian tower forced back into apartments

Residents at locked-down Victorian tower forced back into apartments

A hard lockdown remains at the public housing tower at 33 Alfred Street, North Melbourne, on Sunday. Photo: AAP
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Residents at one of Melbourne’s public housing towers recently released from ‘hard’ lockdown have been forced back into their apartments after a spate of new coronavirus infections.

There are 237 COVID-19 cases linked to the Flemington and North Melbourne estates.

A woman living at 120 Racecourse Road, Flemington told AAP a family who tested positive for the virus before the five-day lockdown have since been seen outside their flat, mixing with others, going to McDonald’s and travelling to neighbouring Footscray.

She said a teenager in the family attends Al-Taqwa College, a large school in Truganina linked to a huge outbreak.

The woman says she saw health authorities speaking with the family on Friday night, reminding them to isolate at home.

The Department of Health and Human Services also called her on Friday to let her know she had been in close contact with a different resident who tested positive to the virus.

She was told to quarantine for two weeks.

The woman shares a small flat with her family and cannot isolate in her room, so she was told to wear a mask at all times, including when sleeping.

“Just thinking about it, I’m about to go crazy,” she said.

A young father in the same building received a positive test result on Friday, having waited to find out since his test on Monday.

By the time he received the result at midday, he had already left his apartment, spoke to police and fellow residents and bought a coffee.

He has shut himself in a bedroom, interacting with his wife and children via FaceTime.

The DDHS asked him to isolate in a hotel but he preferred to be at home.

The department declined to comment on specific cases for privacy reasons, but said there were strict procedures in place to protect the public when a person tests positive.

“All close contacts are identified and notified that they need to self-isolate and seek testing,” a spokesman said.

The Flemington building was one of nine public housing towers to be put into a strict lockdown from July 4 to 9.

Eight of the towers reverted to stage three restrictions on Thursday, while residents of Alfred Street, North Melbourne remain in self-quarantine.

Meanwhile, another 28 cases were recorded at a public housing tower in Carlton.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said the pandemic had not yet reached its peak and authorities were throwing “absolutely everything at it”.

The state recorded 273 new cases on Sunday and another death.

There are now 1484 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, with 57 people currently in hospital with the virus and 16 of those in intensive care.

*The two residents who spoke to AAP did not wish to be named.