January 27, 2021

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Health boss admits ‘real concern’ over Melbourne’s towers

2 min read
<p>The AMA president Dr Tony Bartone said there was a potential for coronavirus to spread rapidly within the towers, as residents are forced to remain locked inside for their own safety.</p>

One of Australia's top doctors has warned of caution over the lockdown of nine public housing towers in Melbourne, fearing the spread of coronavirus within the buildings was "a real concern".

More than 3000 residents are now confined to their apartments for at least five days to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 within the community, but there are suggestions that period may be extended.

Australian Medical Association President Dr Tony Bartone said the amount of people within the towers, coupled with common entry points and lifts, could be problematic.

"Yes, they are a real concern," Dr Tony Bartone told Today.

The towers have been likened to 'vertical cruise ships' over the speed at which the virus spread on the Ruby Princess, which claimed the lives of 22 passengers.

"Indeed, if there is COVID-19 present in any of the residents there could quite easily spread," he said.

The decision to shut the residents within the towers for nearly a week was "in the interests of their safety" he said.

"The speed, the urgency, all reflects the real problems here underlying the issue."

Other states should be wary in the race to reopen because the virus still posed a significant threat, he warned.

"There seems to be a sort of interstate rivalry between who can open up fastest and there's a rush to the finish line as if winner takes it all," Dr Bartone said.

"The problem - everyone needs to remember that COVID-19 is still present in the community," he said.

Scenes of crowds packed together at nightclubs and pubs across Queensland on Friday and Saturday nights was a cause of concern, he said.

"It wasn't that long ago that Victoria, the numbers were just there in comparison to the other states, equally as good and it's gotten out of control very quickly here," he said.

"What we saw in Queensland on the weekend in terms of the nightclubbing, it's way too early to start the party. It's really COVID-19 is here for a long time to come."

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-melbourne-towers-real-concern-says-ama-president-amid-comparisons-to-cruise-ships/ae78ba14-8e60-49b2-9056-8156c606d6c8

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