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Australia Residents of Melbourne's locked-down public housing towers 'treated like criminals'

01:41  05 july  2020
01:41  05 july  2020 Source:   msn.com

Victoria records 108 new coronavirus infections, locks down suburbs and public housing

  Victoria records 108 new coronavirus infections, locks down suburbs and public housing Residents of nine public housing estates in inner Melbourne will be required to stay in their homes due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases. Premier Daniel Andrews said in recent days, 23 cases had been identified in more than 12 households in the Flemington and North Melbourne public housing estates.It comes as Victoria recorded its second-highest ever daily increase in coronavirus cases, with 108 people diagnosed with the virus overnight.

Police at one of the nine public housing towers in Flemington, Melbourne , placed under ‘hard lockdown ’ on Saturday afternoon. Hana said it was unfair that the public housing blocks had been locked down when other large apartment buildings in the area had not, and also unfair that they had

Residents in the Flemington and Kensington housing units will receive deliveries of MELBOURNE , Australia (AP) — Australia’ s Victoria state recorded 108 new coronavirus cases Saturday, forcing authorities to lock down nine public housing towers and three more Melbourne

a man sitting on the seat of a car: Flemington tower resident Tekeste Hailu says public housing residents feel singled out by the new rules. (Supplied: Tekeste Hailu) © Provided by ABC Health Flemington tower resident Tekeste Hailu says public housing residents feel singled out by the new rules. (Supplied: Tekeste Hailu)

It was only when Tekeste Hailu tried to leave his building that he realised he was one of 3,000 people in mandatory lockdown.

Mr Hailu, 27, lives with his grandmother in public housing on Racecourse Rd, one of nine Melbourne buildings that was placed into sudden "hard lockdown" on Saturday afternoon.

But the first Mr Hailu was told was when he tried to leave to buy groceries, only to be greeted by "the whole building surrounded by police".

"I'm thinking, what's going on, has someone died or something?" he said.

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  Why has coronavirus locked down Melbourne public housing estates and who is affected? A Perth father has been left with life threatening injuries after he was brutally bashed outside a Northbridge nightclub.

Melbourne ' s 'hard lockdown ' orders residents of nine public housing towers to stay home as coronavirus cases surge. How come we are any different? It just feels like we have been singled out. She said it was hard not to feel that public housing blocks had been targeted when the towers are

Melbourne ' s 'hard lockdown ' orders residents of nine public housing towers to stay home as coronavirus cases surge. How come we are any different? It just feels like we have been singled out. She said it was hard not to feel that public housing blocks had been targeted when the towers are

The strict restrictions are due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the public housing towers, which have 1,345 units.

"This is not just a matter of 23- to 30-odd people, this is a matter of many hundreds who have already been exposed and who may already be incubating," Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said on Saturday.

Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement with Housing Minister Richard Wynne.

Other residents received a text message shortly before 5:00pm informing them that two new postcodes, 3031 and 3051, had been placed under stay-at-home orders from midnight that night.

Residents of Kensington, Flemington and North Melbourne will join 36 other suburbs in going back under stage three restrictions.

How people are helping Victorian housing tower residents under coronavirus stay-at-home orders

  How people are helping Victorian housing tower residents under coronavirus stay-at-home orders About 3,000 residents in nine Melbourne public housing towers will stay in their units for the next five days. This is how the community is making their life a little easier.The Victorian government has announced a suite of assistance packages including a two-week rent reprieve and hardship payments of $1,500 to help cover living costs for employed people, or $750 for people out of work.

Melbourne ' s 'hard lockdown ' orders residents of nine public housing towers to stay home as coronavirus cases surge. Jair Bolsonaro sanctioned a law on Friday to make face masks obligatory in public in Brazil, but watered it down by vetoing their use in shops, churches and schools, the BBC

Melbourne ' s 'hard lockdown ' orders residents of nine public housing towers to stay home as coronavirus cases surge. How come we are any different? It just feels like we have been singled out. She said it was hard not to feel that public housing blocks had been targeted when the towers are

But for those living in the nine towers, an even stricter "hard lockdown" had already begun from 4:00pm.

Girmay Mengesha, who lives in one of the towers on the same road as Mr Hailu, said he was happy to comply with the new orders, but was frustrated by the lack of communication and warning.

"The way they mobilised the police officers … meant they already knew," Mr Mengesha said.

"Why didn't they tell us?"

He also said he felt as though other residents of his suburb were given more time.

"We are happy that the Government has taken action to protect the community, but why are there two different rules?" he said.

The towers will be completely locked down for at least five days while health officials attempt to test every resident and assess the results.

The massive police effort to enforce the lockdown will involve about 500 police per shift and officers stationed on most floors.

"We're treated like criminals, pretty much, and they're only targeting only the flats, I don't understand why it's a major target," Mr Hailu said.

Positive cases mount in housing towers as hundreds call for help

  Positive cases mount in housing towers as hundreds call for help Public housing towers which are subjected to strict lockdown in Melbourne's northern suburbs have seen an increase of 16 positive COVID-19 cases. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the nine towers to 53 while 127 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours across the whole of the state.Victorian chief medical officer Brett Sutton said the numbers were not unexpected but the reason why the towers are in hard lockdown. © Provided by Today The forced quarantine of nine public housing towers continues in Melbourne, with some residents claiming they're not getting enough supplies.

Earlier in the week, Melbourne instituted a lockdown across sections of the city to contain the outbreak. In addition to the quarantine at the public housing towers , Victoria also issued stay-at-home orders for North Melbourne postal codes covering suburbs including Flemington and Kensington.

Melbourne ' s 'hard lockdown ' orders residents of nine public housing towers to stay home as coronavirus cases surge. How come we are any different? It just feels like we have been singled out. She said it was hard not to feel that public housing blocks had been targeted when the towers are

"Mostly the people that live in the flats are migrant backgrounds. I just feel like, why only us? Why are they targeting us?"

Strong police presence 'going to trigger a lot of trauma'

Mr Hailu, a student and worker, emigrated to Melbourne from East Africa in 2010.

He said many young people of African descent in his community were scared of the police after a recent focus on "African gangs".

"Especially with what's happening in the current situation with the police and the African background, all the youths are very terrified of the police," Mr Hailu said.

"And especially now they're coming around, getting them to be under a lockdown, it's obviously going to trigger a lot of trauma."

There have also been concerns raised about the lack of information in languages other than English.

By late on Saturday night, Mr Hailu said he was yet to see any professional health workers, social workers or interpreters to support the hundreds of residents in his building.

He said many people would have willingly been tested and stayed at home if they had been asked "instead of just bombarding us with 500 police at once and locking us down".

Coronavirus lockdown continues at Melbourne public housing towers as police arrest resident accused of biting officer

  Coronavirus lockdown continues at Melbourne public housing towers as police arrest resident accused of biting officer A man attempting to defy the lockdown at one of Melbourne's public housing towers allegedly bites a police officer while trying to leave, as residents endure another day of enforced quarantine in their apartments. Nine public housing estates in Flemington and North Melbourne remain in "hard lockdown", with another 16 people in the towers diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past day.The lockdown means residents cannot leave for any reason.Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said a resident had been arrested after trying to fight police when they stopped him from leaving.

Thousands of residents in several high-rise apartments in Melbourne went into lockdown for at least five days Saturday, as officials struggle to control a virus outbreak in Australia' s second biggest city. Hundreds of police were deployed to enforce the lockdown of nine public housing towers , as the

This specific public housing tower is in South Melbourne , but the towers being locked down in Flemington and North Melbourne are of a similar age and type. Victoria police are in charge of managing the lockdown , informing residents and ensuring they return home as soon as possible.

"There was no time to have air or anything, the basic human rights. No food, no nothing, they just sent us to lockdown for five days," he said.

#dayssinceEMBEDfull

Residents who spoke to the ABC said they did not know what kind of financial compensation they would receive for missing out on work or study.

Mr Mengesha, who was stood down from his role at Qantas earlier this year, said he did not know whether he would be paid for the casual shifts he was meant to do at Woolworths from Monday to Friday.

"Now we're stressed. We don't even know what's going to happen tomorrow," he said.

Mr Hailu said it was "terrifying" to know that a lot of people had been exposed to the virus, and was worried for his 73-year-old grandmother.

"It's quite concerning … because she's in danger, more than me," he said.

But he said there could have been a different system for handling the rise in cases, with more of a focus on embedding healthcare workers in the community.

Dr van Diemen said living in close quarters and using shared facilities made transmission within the buildings more likely than in other locations.

She said authorities were worried there could be an "explosion of infections in a highly vulnerable community and very high rates of hospitalisations and deaths because of the background health status of a large number of people in these towers".

Victorian Public Tenants Association executive officer Mark Feenane expressed his concern that overcrowding was assisting the virus to spread.

#growthfactorgraphicEMBEDfull

Jenny, a resident from one of the North Melbourne towers, said physical distancing was nearly impossible in her building.

Residents from three separate towers said it was common for lifts in the high-rise buildings to be out of order on a regular basis, meaning there was one way up and down the buildings for hundreds of residents.

Jenny said she took the stairs because she was "fit and young", but that was impossible for many others.

In a statement, the Housing Minister said while the immediate focus was on the health response, attention was now turning to "wraparound support" for people living in the estates.

"That includes medical care, mental health supports as well as the basics like food and essentials. Already, we have support staff and social workers onsite to make sure no one is lacking those basic necessities," Mr Wynne said.

"To those Victorians who live in these estates, we will do everything we can to support you at this very challenging time."

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