New COVID-19 Cases Extend Melbourne Tower Lockdown

July 12, 2020 Updated: July 12, 2020

Residents of one of Melbourne’s public housing towers recently released from hard lockdown have been forced back into their apartments after a spate of new COVID-19 infections.

There are 145 COVID-19 cases linked to the Flemington and North Melbourne estates, but the state’s chief health officer on Sunday warned the number could be much higher.

A woman living at 120 Racecourse Road, Flemington told AAP a family who tested positive for the virus prior to 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 (DHHS) also called her on July 10 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 July 10, having waited since his test on July 6.

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 spokesperson said.

By Andi Yu