Police lockdown intimidating

500 armed Victorian police officers stopping 3,000 residents in nine public housing towers from leaving is, to say the least, heavy-handed.

It must be confusing and terrifying time for many people. Apparently there was no warning, no clear information.

No one allowed in and no one allowed out for 5 days sounds a lot like what happened in cruise ships. Containment of 23 new cases in the towers could quickly turn into hundreds and weeks of lockdown.

Why not send in social workers, nurses, and doctors instead of police? Are all the shared spaces properly cleaned, are people given masks and sanitiser? Are interpreters, mental health workers available?

23 new cases were from 12 households in 9 towers. That’s an average of 1.3 households per tower. It’s alarming but not worse than other hotspots. Are these 23 people now in isolation somewhere safe and comfortable?

Why no one in? Are those who were out at the time locked out? Are carers, cleaners and maintenance workers not allowed in?

This whole exercise smacks of panic and scapegoating – vulnerable people bearing the brunt of the State Government’s frustration at so many new cases, just when we were thinking we had Covid-19 largely licked. 

It’s clearly easier to enforce tower lockdowns than trying to keep hundreds of people in their houses but at what cost. By definition, only the poor are in public housing. No one chooses to live in 50-year-old high rise towers with poor amenity and lots of shared spaces. For the elderly, those with health problems, victims of trauma and abuse, this lockdown could be disastrous. 

People need to be treated with respect and the most sensitive care and that doesn’t appear to be happening.

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