Hard Lockdown Eased in Melbourne Tower Blocks Amid Testing Blitz

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Eight public-housing tower blocks that were completely shut down in Australia’s second-biggest city due to a coronavirus outbreak will be reopened after a testing blitz, authorities said Thursday.

Residents, who were told they couldn’t leave their apartments under the stringent controls, will now be allowed to leave for essential work, study, exercise or shopping -- in line with measures imposed across the rest of Melbourne. One tower block, where 11% of residents tested positive, will remain shuttered.

Some 2,515 of the roughly 3,000 occupants of the Melbourne towers have been tested since Saturday, with 158 positive cases. Residents with Covid-19 will be quarantined in alternative accommodation, or delivered food and medical care if they choose not to relocate.

The city of 5 million people in the state of Victoria on Thursday entered a six-week lockdown aimed at containing a second wave of infections. Australia had enjoyed early success in controlling the outbreak and other states and territories have barred Victorians from entering to control the spread of the virus.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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