Melbourne locks down tower blocks as cases rise

Premier of Australia's Victoria defends hard Covid-19 lockdown

Premier of Australia's Victoria defends hard COVID-19 lockdown By Reuters

The number of new patients confirmed overnight reached 74, with 16 of those attributed to controlled outbreaks, four found through routine testing, one being a returned traveller in hotel quarantine and 53 now being investigated.

There are 43 active cases in Victoria with 26 people in the hospital and 3 in intensive care.

In recent days, Victoria has taken drastic steps to slow the spread of the virus, including a hard lockdown imposed on approximately 3000 residents of nine public housing blocks.

Premier of Australia's Victoria defends hard Covid-19 lockdown

Other than the immediate provision of essential goods, healthcare and other support services expected, Mr Andrews announced a two-week rent waiver for affected households.

Households where nobody is in employment will receive a $750 payment.

Addressing the media this morning, Daniel Andrews tried to sell the tough new lockdown conditions, saying "this is not about punishment but protection". Police have been stationed outside the tower to enforce the order.

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The hard-hit Australian state of Victoria has recorded 74 new coronavirus cases after announcing a record 108 new infections on Saturday.

The state's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said today that four new cases have been linked to outbreaks in the public housing blocks, out of 27 total cases there.

The Victorian Council of Social Service said it understood the lockdown of such an at risk group of people was a public health decision, but given levels of health and social vulnerability among many residents, it needed to be done right, proportionately and with sensitivity.

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Premier Andrews made statements acknowledging the challenging situation residents are facing but argued the hard-lined measures were necessary.

He acknowledged that many residents of public housing units were in "poor health" and that "this is not going to be a pleasant experience".

I'm not in a Melbourne hotspot, but should I go to a dinner that was organised before the surge in cases or stay at home? "We will all feel the impact if this gets away from us comprehensively, because I won't be looking down 12 postcodes, I will have no choice but to lockdown all postcodes", he said.

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