Residents locked up in Melbourne’s public housing towers linked to an explosion of coronavirus cases in the city have issued a ‘list of demands’ to Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews.
Angry residents of nine high-rise buildings in the city say they have to be able to leave their homes for essential reasons, just like others in closed suburbs.
They have also demanded that all police officers be removed from the buildings.
Mr. Andrews announced the extreme decision after 108 new cases were registered on Saturday – the worst result since March 28, the culmination of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The residential committee towers in Flemington, Kensington and North Melbourne have been linked to at least 23 cases of coronavirus in 12 households.
Videos shared by residents on social media provide insight into life in the towers – including arguments with the police and a swarm of health officials embarking on the mass testing process.
A letter distributed to the residents of the towers seen by Daily Mail Australia states that anyone who lives on the premises and refuses a COVID-19 test will be detained for 15 days – instead of the standard five days .
Residents trapped in the nine Melbourne residential towers considered as COVID-19 hotspots have issued a ‘list of demands’ to Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (photo)
Resident-shared images show health officials dressed in protective gear beginning the testing process. Each inhabitant of the nine towers is tested for COVID-19
A letter scattered around the towers and seen by Daily Mail Australia (photo) states that all residents of the building refusing a COVID-19 test will be detained for 15 days
A video also showed that residents used stairwells to move through the buildings, despite police being stationed on each floor to avoid gatherings.
As they walked up and down a stairwell, the group of young residents played a song by rapper Akon that said, “I’m locked up, they won’t let me out.”
Other images shared by residents show health officials dressed in protective gear starting the testing process.
All residents of the towers are tested for COVID-19 and are allowed to quarantine with a negative test after five days.
If residents refuse to be tested, they will be isolated for another 10 days, according to a letter from Daily Mail Australia.
“You will be held for another 10 days from the end of the initial detention period if you refuse to be tested for COVID-19 at the request of an authorized officer,” the letter said.
“This detention is necessary because, given medical advice, this further detention is reasonably necessary to eliminate or reduce a serious risk.”
Tensions were high on Saturday night as residents complained that they were not prepared for the “hard shutdown” and were left without supplies.
They say that almost immediately after the announcement by Mr Andrews, the police began to swarm the towers to ensure that none of the residents left.
Photos taken by residents in the buildings showed that the police were stationed out of the closed towers at each exit
Resident of social housing Najat Mussa (photo) shared photos on social media and gave insight into life in a closed space
Food and drink packages (right) were delivered to residents by the police (left) on Saturday evening, but some complained that they were not getting supplies such as bread and milk
The 74 new cases in Victoria and 14 new cases in NSW bring the total across Australia to 8,174
Victoria Police have confirmed that officers will be stationed on every floor of every tower.
When a father and daughter tried to leave to buy bread and milk, a police officer told them, “Go to sleep inside.”
“You don’t have the right and the authority to tell me what to do or not to do,” replied the young woman.
Signs indicating an ’emergency area’ have also been placed in the towers.
“This building and its immediate surroundings are the subject of an declared emergency zone,” the sign said.
“The Victoria Police are convinced that the building and its surroundings are in emergency situations because of the actual or imminent occurrence of an even endangered health or safety.”
Residents in the towers subject to the “hard shutdown” are among the most vulnerable states.
Many have fled war or family violence and are dealing with mental illness, disability, and low income.
More than 3,000 residents in towers in Flemington, Kensington and North Melbourne will be paired in their homes for at least five days
The towers are closed and enclosed, and the only people allowed to get in and out are those who provide essential services
A resident comes to talk to the police on Sunday in public housing in North Melbourne before returning inside
Police with masks previously speak to a woman outside the building in North Melbourne
Signs indicating an ’emergency area’ have also been placed through the towers (photo)
Within hours, a list of ‘demands of lockdown residents’ began to circulate online, including rent suspension.
Mr. Andrews announced on Sunday that residents will not be required to pay rent for the next two weeks and that workers who cannot go to work will receive $ 1,500.
I thank them all for that seemingly small contribution …
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to people who have been tested
The Prime Minister thanked those in the towers and those tested for helping stop the second wave currently plaguing the state.
“I thank them all for that seemingly small contribution, but I am really a big part of our response to public health,” said Mr. Andrews.
“The whole strategy depends on knowing where the virus provides the correct contact detection and public health interventions to control the virus.
“Without the test numbers, without people coming forward and giving their time and agreeing to a test, it’s incredibly hard to know.”
A distraught woman was pulled out of her car by a police in front of a public residential tower in Melbourne on Sunday
As the woman attempted to exit the parking lot of one of the tall buildings, an officer chased her down and grabbed her by the jacket
The woman sat outside the Racecourse Road building and spoke to the police for several minutes before being taken away
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 8,066
New South Wales: 3,225
Western Australia: 611
South Australia: 443
Australian Capital Territory: 108
Northern Territory: 30
TOTAL CASES: 8.174
CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 576
A distraught woman from one of the public housing towers was pulled out of her car by the police while trying to leave the parking lot on Sunday morning.
Shocking photos of the disturbing incident show the woman driving her car out of the parking lot on Racecourse Road, Flemington, while a police officer chases after her.
Finally, he overtakes the woman, leans into the driver’s open side window and grabs her by the jacket, then decelerates the vehicle.
After several other police officers rushed to help, the visibly shocked woman was taken away and questioned.
Victoria police said no individuals have been arrested since the closure in public housing towers began.