Sydney apartment block in 14-day lockdown

A western Sydney multi-storey apartment block has been locked down with a police guard to enforce two weeks of quarantine after six cases of COVID-19 were detected in residents.

Around 100 people living in the five-storey building are being urgently tested after the first case was diagnosed in a resident in the Devitt St, Blacktown block on Monday.

Western Sydney Local Health District says all residents are considered close contacts.

The six COVID cases were identified in three associated households of the apartment block of 50 units, which is owned by Evolve Housing, one of the largest community housing providers.

WSLHD says it’s working with the residents and building management to assess the situation and collaborating with other agencies “to implement measures to address infection control and the health and welfare of residents”.

“Food and other services, including daily welfare checks, will be provided to residents safely during their 14-day quarantine period. Tailored support services will be provided to all isolated residents as needed,” the statement from WSLHD said on Tuesday.

It stressed the situation reinforced the need for everyone to wear a face mask in shared foyer or lobby areas, lifts, stairwells and corridors, and shared laundry facilities.

Police were called by NSW Health on Monday night to guard the building and enforce the strict quarantine.

One of the residents who has tested negative says the building was surrounded by police, media camera crews and security guards.

“It’s a bit daunting, a bit scary,” she told Sydney radio 2GB on Tuesday.

“There’s a lot of police outside and we just don’t know what’s going on right now.”

Blacktown is one of the local government areas at the epicentre of Sydney’s COVID outbreak and non-essential workers cannot leave, even for work.

NSW Health has confirmed two women in their 80s, not a man and a woman as it earlier reported, died on Monday – one at her home in Pendle Hill in Sydney’s west and another at Campbelltown Hospital, taking the death toll from the state’s latest outbreak to 10.

Meanwhile, authorities have issued an urgent alert for anyone who visited Campsie Centre Shopping Mall in Sydney’s southwest anytime from July 14 -24.

Anyone who was there over the 10 day period is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.

NSW recorded 145 new local cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, with southwest Sydney remaining the main area of concern for authorities.

The state is moving to bolster its vaccination rollout with new walk-in clinics offering the AstraZeneca jab.

Western Sydney Local Health District on Monday announced new pop-up clinics will be set up across the Merrylands and Guildford area for three weeks for AstraZeneca vaccinations.

Anyone over 40 will be able to receive the jab without a GP referral. 

Meanwhile, frontline workers for Woolworths, Aldi, Coles and Metcash in Fairfield, Liverpool, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Blacktown will from this week have priority access to the Pfizer vaccine.

This includes workers in supermarkets, warehouses and online retail centres who can’t do their job from home and the jab will be available at the Sydney Olympic Park hub.

“This is a significant breakthrough in protecting the health of frontline retail workers, ensuring the community retains access to the essentials of life during the protracted lockdown in Australia’s biggest city,” SDA NSW secretary Bernie Smith said.

A week-long lockdown in the NSW regional local government areas of Orange, Cabonne and Blayney is due to expire at 11.59pm on Tuesday.

A full list of NSW exposure sites can be found at health.nsw.gov.au

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