Residents of social housing in Flemington, Melbourne are moving to apartments for the first time in five days
Hundreds of Melburnians who were locked in their high-rise public housing towers for more than five days have joined the rest of the city for the third stage of coronavirus restrictions.
Eight towers in North Melbourne and Flemington were released on Thursday due to a hard shutdown, but residents of an additional tower at 33 Alfred Street remain isolated for nine days.
The newly liberated residents were spotted on Friday mornings enjoying the outdoors, with one walking his dog and the other smoking a cigarette.
Robert, a resident of the Flemington tower, puts a thumbs up while walking his dog with him on Friday morning
A newly freed resident of one of the residential towers in Flemington has a cigarette on Friday
A resident of a tower in Flemington, Hussein smiled at a photo when he stepped out on Friday. The teenager celebrated his 18th birthday while imprisoned
Eight towers in North Melbourne and Flemington were released from the hard closure on Thursday. Pictured: Two Flemington residents in face masks pose for a photo on Friday after restrictions were relaxed
Flemington residents walked around their building on Friday morning, stopping shortly for a social aloof conversation with their neighbors
It is the first time that Flemington residents have been allowed to leave their buildings since being placed in immediate detention on Saturday to stop the spread of COVID-19 amid a second wave of infections.
A resident of a tower in Flemington, Hussein smiled at a photo when he stepped out on Friday. The teenager celebrated his 18th birthday while imprisoned.
Another resident hung a handwritten paper plate on a glass window to thank the government and health workers.
“I really appreciate my helpful government and all the people who make sure we are safe,” the sign said.
A woman, known to other Flemington residents as Aunty G, thanked the police for letting her blind and half-deaf dog out during the closure, Nine news reported.
Aunt G – delighted that she is no longer incarcerated – said the officers walked her pet three times a day, sometimes at two in the morning.
Other residents took a morning walk around their building and stopped for a social distant conversation with their neighbors.
A man was photographed outside a tower in Flemington with a large Aboriginal flag over his shoulder.
A Flemington resident hung a handwritten paper sign on a glass window to thank the government and health workers
A woman with a face mask takes her dog outside on Friday morning for fresh air
A Flemington resident uses his phone while stepping out on a Friday morning
Police in face masks patrol the public housing towers on Friday. Residents joined the rest of Melbourne for phase three restrictions
THE MELBOURNE TOWER LOCK
Nine social housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington were locked up for at least five days on Saturday afternoon.
* 9 Pampas Street and 159 Melrose Street in North Melbourne do not have confirmed coronavirus cases. They switched to Stage 3 restrictions at 5:00 PM on Thursday.
* 12 Holland Court, 120 Racecourse Road, 126 Racecourse Road, 130 Racecourse Road in Flemington and 12 Sutton Street and 76 Canning Street in North Melbourne “have a low rate of coronavirus”. They switched to Stage 3 restrictions at 11:59 PM on Thursday.
* 33 Alfred Street North Melbourne will remain locked up for nine days. Residents can only leave their apartment for medical care and under the supervision of daily exercise.
Residents are now subject to a six-week residence permit along with the rest of the Melbourne metropolis and the Mitchell Shire.
The government was criticized for suddenly locking nine people’s towers in Flemington and North Melbourne on Saturday.
Authorities were concerned that the high-density towers, labeled “vertical cruise ships”, had the “explosive potential” to disperse COVID-19.
Some residents said they felt like prisoners who couldn’t leave their apartment for five days.
There were 158 confirmed cases of coronavirus in seven of the towers on Thursday, with 53 infections on 33 Alfred Street.
A man was photographed outside a tower in Flemington with a large Aboriginal flag over his shoulder
Pictured: Residents walk outside the residential towers in Flemington after restrictions are relaxed
A man walks outside the residential towers in North Melbourne on Friday
A resident of the Melrose Street tower smiles as she walks nearby on Friday
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said residents of North Melbourne’s 33 Alfred Street tower will remain in self-isolation after counting nearly a third of coronavirus cases in the towers.
“We have to recognize that there may be 20 to 25 percent of individuals in that particular tower that eventually develop coronavirus and possibly more,” said Professor Sutton on Thursday.
“So, like an elderly care home, that is appropriate for anyone who needs quarantine.”
Residents of 33 Alfred Street can only leave their apartment for medical care and under the supervision of daily exercise.
Victoria registered 288 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, the largest daily increase of any state since the pandemic began.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said only 26 cases were related to known infections, while 262 are still under investigation.
The new cases push the state’s active cause beyond 1000 for the first time.
Previously, the highest daily state total in Australia was 212 cases registered in NSW on March 27.
Police will be speaking to residents outside Melrose Street tower in North Melbourne on Friday
Police patrol the towers of public housing in Melbourne on Friday
Residents of nine towers in central Melbourne were locked up for at least five days on Saturday. Pictured: People are seen outside the residential towers in Flemington on Friday after restrictions were relaxed
A man with an Aboriginal flag walks outside a public housing tower in Flemington on Friday