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Melbourne residents refuse to tell close contacts they’ve caught coronavirus

Residents in Melbourne are refusing to tell health officials who their close contacts are despite a huge surge in coronavirus cases. 

Those living in the west and north western suburbs have hampered contact tracing by not sharing information about where they have been and who their close contacts are.

Some people have been told they could have coronavirus up to five days after they came into contact with a known case, the Herald Sun reported.  

It means they could have infected dozens of people before they have been told to self-isolate.  

Victoria saw a frightening climb in cases on Tuesday recording 191 new infections – its worst number yet.

The whole state is now facing a total lockdown as the border between NSW and Victoria closes from midnight on Tuesday for the first time in 100 years. 

Contact tracers are now desperately working to identify those who may have been in touch with new cases but are finding many Victorians aren't doing the right thing. Pictured people line up for COVID-19 testing clinic in Albury on NSW/Victoria border

Contact tracers are now desperately working to identify those who may have been in touch with new cases but are finding many Victorians aren’t doing the right thing. Pictured people line up for COVID-19 testing clinic in Albury on NSW/Victoria border

Victoria saw a jump in cases on Tuesday recording 191 new infections. Pictured firefighters in hazmat suits deliver food to public housing towers locked down in Melbourne on Tuesday

Victoria saw a jump in cases on Tuesday recording 191 new infections. Pictured firefighters in hazmat suits deliver food to public housing towers locked down in Melbourne on Tuesday

Victoria saw a jump in cases on Tuesday recording 191 new infections. Pictured firefighters in hazmat suits deliver food to public housing towers locked down in Melbourne on Tuesday

Some Melbourne residents living in west and north-west suburbs are delaying telling authorities where they have travelled and who they've seen. Pictured residents locked down in housing commission flats in Flemington, Melbourne

Some Melbourne residents living in west and north-west suburbs are delaying telling authorities where they have travelled and who they've seen. Pictured residents locked down in housing commission flats in Flemington, Melbourne

Some Melbourne residents living in west and north-west suburbs are delaying telling authorities where they have travelled and who they’ve seen. Pictured residents locked down in housing commission flats in Flemington, Melbourne

Those seeking a COVID-19 test are being urged to visit the drive through testing clinics at Melbourne Airport.

Nine tower blocks were placed under a strict lockdown on Saturday and residents are only able to leave with approval.

Suburbs in 12 postcodes have already been placed in lockdown and Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to confine all 6.5million Victorians to their homes as the outbreak leaves 35 people in hospital and nine fighting for their lives.       

Pictures from the locked down towers on Tuesday show firefighters dressed in hazmat suits preparing to enter the buildings and deliver milk and bread while dozens of police stand guard outside.

Precautions: Firefighters dressed in personal protective equipment prepare to distribute food throughout a public housing tower in North Melbourne

Precautions: Firefighters dressed in personal protective equipment prepare to distribute food throughout a public housing tower in North Melbourne

Precautions: Firefighters dressed in personal protective equipment prepare to distribute food throughout a public housing tower in North Melbourne

Delivery: The Melbourne Public Tenants Association, on behalf of the 3000 residents in the Flemington and North Melbourne estates, say residents have been left in the dark over enforced hard lockdown. Pictured: Firemen deliver bread

Delivery: The Melbourne Public Tenants Association, on behalf of the 3000 residents in the Flemington and North Melbourne estates, say residents have been left in the dark over enforced hard lockdown. Pictured: Firemen deliver bread

Delivery: The Melbourne Public Tenants Association, on behalf of the 3000 residents in the Flemington and North Melbourne estates, say residents have been left in the dark over enforced hard lockdown. Pictured: Firemen deliver bread

Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) is currently in a meeting of the COVID-19 Crisis Council of Cabinet which is discussing further lockdown measures

Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) is currently in a meeting of the COVID-19 Crisis Council of Cabinet which is discussing further lockdown measures

Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) is currently in a meeting of the COVID-19 Crisis Council of Cabinet which is discussing further lockdown measures 

It comes as New South Wales Police and ADF soldiers set up road blocks and drones along the 1,000km-long NSW-VIC border before it is shut down at midnight for the first time since Spanish Flu struck in 1919.

Victoria’s new case total is the second-highest of any state after New South Wales recorded 212 new cases on 28 March. 

This graph shows how community transmission has soared

This graph shows how community transmission has soared

This graph shows how community transmission has soared

Earlier on Tuesday federal health minister Greg Hunt said broadening the lockdown in Victoria was on the table. 

‘I don’t think that anybody can rule out that if the disease continues to spread, there could be further restrictions,’ he told the Nine’s Today show.

‘I think it’s very important to be open and honest about that. At this stage, again, it appears primarily urban Victoria.

‘But we actually have to respond to the facts as they occur and we’ve always identified this notion of rings of containment, of isolating the hotspots and then working out from there.’  

Residents of the nine locked-down towers said they feel let down by a lack of communication, food and supplies.

The Melbourne Public Tenants Association, on behalf of the residents in the Flemington and North Melbourne estates, say residents have been left in the dark since the state government’s hard lockdown was enforced on Saturday.

In a letter to the federal Acting Chief Medical Officer, Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services, Premier Daniel Andrews and Victoria Police, the association describes how residents were forced to wait 24 hours for food and other essentials like baby formula, nappies and medication. 

Since last Monday Victoria has detected 632 new patients, only 14 of whom are returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine. Pictured: Police at a Melbourne housing estate

Since last Monday Victoria has detected 632 new patients, only 14 of whom are returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine. Pictured: Police at a Melbourne housing estate

Since last Monday Victoria has detected 632 new patients, only 14 of whom are returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine. Pictured: Police at a Melbourne housing estate

Residents look from a window at one of nine public housing estates locked down due a spike in COVID-19 coronavirus numbers in Melbourne

Residents look from a window at one of nine public housing estates locked down due a spike in COVID-19 coronavirus numbers in Melbourne

Residents look from a window at one of nine public housing estates locked down due a spike in COVID-19 coronavirus numbers in Melbourne

Victoria's staggering rise in locally acquired coronavirus cases is unprecedented. Pictured: Covid testing in Melbourne on Monday

Victoria's staggering rise in locally acquired coronavirus cases is unprecedented. Pictured: Covid testing in Melbourne on Monday

Victoria’s staggering rise in locally acquired coronavirus cases is unprecedented. Pictured: Covid testing in Melbourne on Monday

When the food arrived it was ‘at best, questionable pre-packaged meat-like food items that do not look suitable for human consumption’.

‘Furthermore, the delivery of the food was tossed to the floor on a single piece of paper in front of the residents’ apartment doors in small portions of one food item per household,’ the letter said. 

NSW reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday from 9,746 tests, including a man who tested negative in hotel quarantine before returning home to Newcastle on Sunday and developing respiratory symptoms. He and his close contacts have been placed into isolation.

The other six cases were in travellers in hotel quarantine.

It comes ahead of Wednesday’s NSW-Victoria border closure, which was agreed to by the state’s premiers and the prime minister.

Workers in hazardous material overalls are seen outside of a public housing tower along Racecourse Road, Melbourne that was placed under lockdown due to the coronavirus disease

Workers in hazardous material overalls are seen outside of a public housing tower along Racecourse Road, Melbourne that was placed under lockdown due to the coronavirus disease

Workers in hazardous material overalls are seen outside of a public housing tower along Racecourse Road, Melbourne that was placed under lockdown due to the coronavirus disease

Healthcare workers carry boxes to high rise housing commission on Sunday during lockdown

Healthcare workers carry boxes to high rise housing commission on Sunday during lockdown

Healthcare workers carry boxes to high rise housing commission on Sunday during lockdown

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 8,586

New South Wales: 3,429

Victoria: 2,660

Queensland: 1,067

Western Australia: 621

South Australia: 443

Tasmania: 228

Australian Capital Territory: 108

Northern Territory: 30

TOTAL CASES: 8,586

DEATHS: 106

Since last Monday Victoria has detected 823 new infections, only 14 of whom are returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

This is radically different from the spike in cases across several states in late March and early April which saw large numbers of returning Australians test positive.  

Locally acquired cases are more dangerous because the patients are not in quarantine and can more easily transmit the virus around the community.

Paul Komesaroff, Professor of Medicine at Monash University, told Daily Mail Australia the situation in Victoria, where 12 postcodes have been put back into lockdown, is alarming.

‘It is an extremely dangerous situation and the safety of the entire country is at stake,’ he said.

‘Clearly there is a major problem that has required draconian measures which should be supported by Victorians to protect their safety. 

Professor Komesaroff said he supported the border shut downs and localised lockdown measures which have proved successful in other countries such as South Korea and Singapore. 

‘This a very different situation that we haven’t seen previously and we have to do what he have to do,’ he said.  

Police have been patrolling the commission flats at 120 Racecourse Road in Flemington as 3,000 residents are in hard lockdown

Police have been patrolling the commission flats at 120 Racecourse Road in Flemington as 3,000 residents are in hard lockdown

Police have been patrolling the commission flats at 120 Racecourse Road in Flemington as 3,000 residents are in hard lockdown

Former Labor leader and MP for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, delivers food to the Flemington Towers Government Housing on Monday

Former Labor leader and MP for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, delivers food to the Flemington Towers Government Housing on Monday

Former Labor leader and MP for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, delivers food to the Flemington Towers Government Housing on Monday

There are 55 NSW-Victoria border crossings over more than 1,000 kilometres and they will be manned by police and soldiers with drones and road blocks.

Two probable coronavirus cases are being investigated in the Albury area. NSW Health on Monday evening said the two cases had returned positive results on preliminary testing in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

The department on Tuesday said the two cases were undergoing further testing but had not yet been included in the state’s confirmed case load.

One suspected case had recently been to Melbourne but returned before hotspot travel restrictions came into force.

NSW Health is setting up a pop-up clinic in Albury from Tuesday and is urging residents in the area with even mild symptoms to get tested.

Queensland recorded its first case of the virus in two weeks on Tuesday, a soldier who returned from overseas and tested positive in hotel quarantine. 

‘There is no excuse’: Gladys Berejiklian demands open borders with all states except Victoria 

After closing the border to Victoria. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has consistently argued against border closures, said other states have ‘no excuse’ for excluding residents of NSW, which recorded only 10 new cases on Monday, all from hotel quarantine. 

‘I also stress to the other states, now that New South Wales has taken this decision and given where we are, there is really no excuse for any other state, apart from Victoria, to have any border closures with New South Wales,’ she said.

‘I urge all the other states of Australia, in our national interest, to think about that.

Premier Gladys Berejikian has demanded that all states and territories except Victoria open their borders with New South Wales

Premier Gladys Berejikian has demanded that all states and territories except Victoria open their borders with New South Wales

Premier Gladys Berejikian has demanded that all states and territories except Victoria open their borders with New South Wales

‘Given this move by the New South Wales Government, we now anticipate that the rest of the nation will be able to deal with each other directly without any hard border closures.’

Queensland is due to remove its hard border on 10 July except to Victorians while the Northern Territory is due to open up on the 17 July, except to residents from Melbourne hotspots.

South Australia said it would open up to eastern states on 20 July but has postponed that decision due to the Victorian outbreak. 

Tasmania is targeting the 24 July but said it will ‘keep an eye’ on developments, while WA is yet to announce any relaxation of border measures. 

Last month Ms Berejiklian slammed the Queensland government for refusing to open its borders to boost the economy.

Asked if she felt ‘silly’ because she was now herself shutting the NSW-VIC border she said ‘not at all’ because the situation in Victoria is ‘very different’ as it involves widespread community transmission.  

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