Two apartment blocks in hard lockdown in Sydney and Melbourne to contain Covid outbreak

Concerns about the spread of the Delta variant in apartment buildings has prompted a hard lockdown of two residential complexes in Sydney and Melbourne.

An apartment building in Bondi Junction in Sydney’s east remains under police guard after eight cases of Covid-19 were detected across five of the 29 apartments, while residents of an apartment building in Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s north-western suburbs, have been ordered to isolate after a removalist with Covid worked there last week.

Die Nieu-Suid-Wallis government has made face masks mandatory in the shared spaces of apartment buildings in response to the outbreak, including for residents, visitors, delivery drivers and cleaners.

The NSW chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said people who live in apartment buildings should not be gathering in common areas, even citing putting the rubbish out as a risk.

“This is a reminder of the risk that Covid poses and why we were requiring masks … in indoor common property areas of residential premises and also discourage social gatherings or any gatherings across household groups in those apartment buildings as well," sy het gese.

Residents of an apartment building in Maribyrnong were delivered a letter on Tuesday ordering them to go into isolation for 14 dae, after a Covid-positive removalist worked at the address on 8 Julie.

Residents of the Ariele apartment in Thomas Holmes Street, Maribyrnong, woke to find the letter from local health district Western Gesondheid on their doorstep.

It stated that everyone who had been at the apartment on 8 July has been identified as a tier one close contact, and must not leave their apartment for 14 days other than to get tested. This includes anyone who just visited or made a delivery, if they accessed the residential lobby, stairwells, lift, residential floors or carpark.

Residents who were not at the address on Tuesday but have been there at any point from Friday to Monday night are tier two contacts and have to isolate until they receive a negative test result.

The decision to lock down the apartment follows the lockdown of a South Melbourne apartment last month, after the virus was found to have transmitted between neighbours and through shared spaces.

The Sydney removalist went into two private homes in Victoria aan 8 July before driving to South Australia and back to Sydney on 9 Julie. They were identified as a close contact and tested positive on 10 Julie. One of their two co-workers has already tested positive, the other is in isolation.

Health authorities said the contact tracing interviews with the removalists had “proved complex and challenging” and there may be more exposure sites to come.

Victoria recorded one new coronavirus case on Tuesday morning. They are understood to be a household contact of a family who moved to Melbourne from Sydney last week. Two members of the family had already tested positive.

Ariele apartment resident Sherille Scott said she did not read the letter until she saw news crews parked outside the building.

“So I got up about quarter to six, saw a letter on my doorstop, didn’t think much of it, picked it up, stuffed it in my bag, got in my car and drove out, saw all the news crews – then read the letter and drove straight back,” she told ABC news.

Scott said the removalists were at the building for half a day on Thursday. She shared the lift with a load of furniture.

She said she was happy to lock down but concerned she did not have adequate supplies of medication.

Coles supermarket in Craigieburn Central, the Mobil Ballan petrol station on the Western Highway at Ballan, and McDonald’s on the freeway at Ballan have also been identified as tier one exposure sites, meaning anyone who visited them at the listed time must isolate for 14 dae.

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