Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he’s “confident” every resident of Melbourne’s locked down public housing towers will have completed a coronavirus test by the end of the day.
That’s positive news for the roughly 3,000 people effectively detained in the towers, who are currently subjected to hasher restrictions than anyone else in the state.
Speaking to the media this morning, Andrews said, “the quicker everyone gets tested, obviously, the quicker we can get those results and then put in place a detailed plan” to support those who test positive.
The nine towers, situated across Flemington and North Melbourne, were placed under police guard on Saturday over fears of rampant coronavirus transmission between residents.
To date, 75 tower residents have tested positive.
The lockdown orders cover 14 days, but Andrews said authorities have aimed for a five-day timeframe.
“Whether we can deliver that exactly to the hour, we’ll have to wait and see,” Andrews said.
When those specific orders are lifted, residents who tested negative for the virus will be subjected to the Melbourne metro area’s second round of Stage 3 lockdowns, which kick in at midnight tonight.
Folks in the affected buildings will be isolated for “not a moment longer than you need to be,” Andrews said.
The tower lockdowns have come under intense criticism from residents and advocacy groups, who have railed against a lack of communication, dismal food supplies, and the unfair treatment of tower residents when compared to other corners of the Melbourne community.