Melbourne Detention Hotel COVID Case | Gloucester lawyer
Asylum seeker inside a Melbourne hotel used as an ‘alternative place of detention’ by Australian border forces said detainees were frustrated and scared after three of them tested positive for COVID -19.
Mustafa Salah, 23, has spent most of eight years in Australian detention centers both offshore and within its borders.
He is currently at the Park Hotel in Melbourne where he says inmates today discovered that three people had tested positive and others were also showing symptoms.
“We don’t know what to do,” Salah told AAP.
“We’re still together … we sit together, eat together, we really don’t know what to do.”
Asylum Seekers Resource Center (ASRC) advocacy and campaigns director Jana Favero told AAP it was a situation the center feared, and despite inmates’ attempts to distance themselves socially and to stay safe, “it is impossible under the conditions in which they find themselves”.
“They are afraid and they have been afraid for 18 months,” said Ms. Favero.
She said overcrowded conditions, hygiene issues, lack of information, guards working at multiple sites, and low numbers of vaccinations were all factors behind CURC’s “deep concerns that ‘there could be an epidemic in a detention center’.
Mr Salah told AAP that he and many other inmates have yet to be vaccinated.
He said he was tested three or four times in the two weeks following his transfer to the Villawood Detention Center hotel in Sydney, but that the tests were not carried out regularly.
Chris Breen of Refugee Action Collective Victoria said a lack of testing “put everyone at the Park Hotel” and it was “shocking” that it took until Sunday morning to confirm a positive result at the Park Hotel. one of the detainees who was swabbed. Friday.
He said the positive cases at the Park Hotel were moved to level one of the building to be isolated, which he called a “recipe for spreading infection” in an air-conditioned hotel.
By the end of August, around 35% of inmates had been partially vaccinated and 16% fully vaccinated, by a time when 58.71% of eligible Australians had received a first dose and 35.03% were fully vaccinated.
The Australian Border Force has been contacted for comment.
Associated Australian Press