Coronavirus Cases Confirmed at Melbourne Construction Site

Melbourne Square is one of the largest development projects in Victoria.
Melbourne Square is one of the largest development projects in Victoria.
03 April 2020, Melbourne, Australia

As of Tuesday, 30 March, two known coronavirus cases have been confirmed on a construction site at Multiplex’s Melbourne Square, one of the largest development projects in Victoria.

Multiplex said workers from the project are now in self-isolation after a contractor, a plumber on the project, was diagnosed with COVID-19.

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“Those working in close contact with the affected worker have been asked to self-isolate in accordance with Department of Health recommendations,” a Multiplex spokesperson confirmed.

The AU$2.8 billion (US$1.68 billion) project in Melbourne’s CBD was closed on Monday night, the 29th.

“Multiplex was notified last night that a worker who attended work at our Melbourne Square site was found to have tested positive for COVID-19,” a Multiplex spokesperson said on Tuesday.

A CFMEU spokesperson said the worker had not recently been overseas, but tested positive a week after his partner did.

Victoria's COVID-19 cases acquired through community transmission now sits at 32, as of late Tuesday.

Upon appropriate clearance we anticipate work recommencing within 24 hours.

“We immediately carried out a full clean and sanitization of the site in accordance with latest protocol,” Multiplex said. “Upon appropriate clearance we anticipate work recommencing within 24 hours.”

Australia's construction sites are exempt from the list of businesses to close under the national cabinet's current restriction measures.

The latest confirmed case follows the COVID-19 diagnosis of a subcontractor working on the Kane Constructions project last week, at the University of Melbourne's Parkville campus.

Master Builders Australia chief executive Denita Wawn said it was important that construction remains an essential industry, speaking on Radio National on Tuesday morning, “but equally we need to make sure we’re looking after the welfare of everyone in the industry”.

“The federal government announced a number of weeks ago that construction is an essential industry, but as we all know this issue is moving at a rapid rate, and things are changing,” Wawn said.

“Since this [COVID-19] issue arose, we’ve been advising our members on all safety requirements, and it's a change of culture in the industry to go slower and to change practices,” she said.

“Our advice to everyone is that slow work is better than no work in the industry, and you need to look after your mates in the industry.”

Victoria entered stage three shutdown restrictions as of Monday midnight, facing on-the-spot fines of more than AU$1,600 (US$959) for individuals and AU$9,913 (US$5,942) for businesses, if breached.

Under the measures, Victorian Premier Dan Andres said there is only four reasons to leave the house: “For food and supplies. For exercise. For medical care. And for work and education—if necessary.”

For more on this story go to The Urban Developer.


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