Residents of nine apartment blocks in Melbourne, Australia have come under strict lockdown because of an outbreak of coronavirus.
The roughly 3,000 residents of the apartment blocks have been instructed not to leave their homes under any circumstances for at least five days. The BBC reports that 23 coronavirus cases had recently been found on two estates. Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said it would take a minimum of five days to test all residents. There are concerns that hundreds of people in the towers have already been exposed to the cases confirmed, and possibly to cases that exist and haven’t as yet been detected.
According to the BBC some of Victoria State’s most vulnerable people live in the nine tower blocks. Victoria’s Minister for Housing, Richard Wynn Wynn, said the apartment blocks have shared lifts and walkways, which present an “acute challenge”.
This is the first time Australia has enacted a complete ‘hard lockdown’. Authorities are concerned that while previously most cases came from travellers returning from abroad, the main source of infection now seems to be local transmission. Twelve suburbs of the city have also been placed under restrictions, but residents will be able to go to work, leave their homes to exercise, and to shop for essential supplies.
Reports read that other Australian states had been able to slow the spread of, or eradicate the virus, but that in Victoria, private security guards overseeing hotel quarantines broke the rules, by socialising, sharing cigarette lighters or car-pooling. Security contractors have been fired and a judicial inquiry into the states quarantine operation has been ordered by the Australian government.
Umm Muhammed Umar