Families trapped in Melbourne towers as coronavirus cases spiralled SUE Dan Andrews’ government – saying the ‘degrading’ isolation left them without food and life-saving medication
- Residents in Melbourne’s locked down public housing towers file lawsuit
- They allege they were not given access to proper food or vital medication
- Victorian deputy chief health officer allegedly given 15 minutes to sign the order
Residents locked inside public housing towers as Melbourne’s second coronavirus wave hit are suing the Victorian government saying they were denied access to proper food and medication.
From July 4 last year, more than 3,000 people were shut inside nine apartment towers with little warning and not allowed to leave until either July 9 or 18 – as statewide Stage Four restrictions were introduced.
The entire state was plunged into a full lockdown on August 2.
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit lodged last week, Idris Hassan, claims that his family were given ‘spoiled’ food and his son did not have access to asthma medication for four days.
Residents in Melbourne’s locked down public housing towers (pictured) in the state’s second coronavirus wave hit the state are suing the Victorian government
The lawsuit alleges that the lockdown was rushed, police were ‘oppressive’ and residents denies access to food and medication (pictured, police at the towers on July 19)
He claims after being provided no groceries for three days they were eventually left four half-frozen sausage rolls on their doorstep, which he could not trust to give to his family, leaving them to survive on beans and nuts in their pantry.
Other claims in the suit include that residents were deprived of fresh air and exercise and that a number of people lost their jobs after they could not go to work.
Other complaints include that the lockdown was ‘invalid’ and ‘degrading’.
The plaintiff allege communal areas were also not cleaned or disinfected, no PPE was provided, and government workers left bins overflowing.
Documents lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court and seen by news.com.au list Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Dieman as the first respondent.
Also listed are Deputy Public Health Commander Finn Romanes, Chief Commissioner of Police Shane Patton, and the state of Victoria.
Victoria’s deputy chief health officer and and police chief are named among the respondents in the lawsuit (pictured, a woman leaves the towers on July 19 as the hard lockdown ended)
Residents are suing the Victorian government over the public housing lockdown (pictured: Daniel Andrews speaks to the media during a press conference with Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton in Melbourne)
The documents detail allegations that Ms van Dieman was under intense pressure to approve the public health order for the towers as hundreds of Victoria Police officers were being sent to enforce the lockdown.
She was allegedly given just 15 minutes to review and sign the document before she was scheduled to give a press conference alongside Premier Daniel Andrews.
Mr Hassan also claims he and his wife and three children, aged 9, 7, and 4, were not given culturally appropriate halal food or a Somali interpreter to explain the lockdown or enforced Covid testing.
The hearing of the lawsuit in court is yet to be schedule.
A COVID-19 testing sign is seen outside one of the public housing facilities in Melbourne
Around 150 complaints were made about the treatment given to the residents (pictured medical workers outside the public housing tower in North Melbourne in July)