Residents and community members who struggled through Melbourne’s public housing lockdown are celebrating after Victorian authorities announced they will relax the severe restrictions on eight of the nine towers.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews ordered without notice on Saturday that residents of the North Melbourne, Flemington and Kensington estates stay confined to their homes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. The order brought widespread criticism from residents.
Andrews said that after the testing of all 3,000 people in the towers, residents in eight of the high-rise buildings would be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, the same rules in force throughout the state, including in residential buildings in the same postcode as some of the public housing estates. The remaining tower at 33 Alfred Street, in North Melbourne, will remain on police-guarded lockdown for nine more days.
“We need to recognise that there might be 20 to 25% of individuals in that particular tower who end up developing coronavirus and potentially more,” Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said of the tower that will remain under a guarded lockdown.
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An additional 165 coronavirus cases recorded Thursday brought Victoria’s total active infections to 932. There have been 22 deaths in the state.
Australia has so far recorded about 9,000 infections and 106 deaths.
Other states and territories have recorded few or zero cases in recent weeks and have shut their borders with Victoria in an attempt to keep COVID-19 from spreading.
The relaxation of the rules on the Melbourne public housing estates relieved...