COVID Crisis in Park Hotel

Refugee Action Coalition MEDIA RELEASE 18/10/2021 COVID CRISIS IN PARK HOTEL - SIX IN ISOLATION , SHOCKING DELAYS PUT MORE AT RISK Last night, Sunday , 17 October, following the confirmation of three positive Covid cases, all refugees in the Park Hotel were confined to their rooms. Last night, after waiting days since signs of Covid emerged among refugees in the Park Hotel last week, all refugees who were not already quarantined (around forty people) were finally tested for Covid. Astonishingly, despite the obvious urgency of the situation, detainees were told it could take two days to get an answer from the test. In the meantime three refugees who were taken to hospital on Sunday night, have been returned to the hotel. While this morning, Monday 18 October, at least one more symptomatic person has been placed in isolation on level 1 of the Park Hotel – making a total of six people in isolation as of 12.30pm, Monday 18 October. (Other reports say another four are in isolation.) Refugee advocates have accused the federal and state government authorities of negligence over their handling of the outbreak in the Park Hotel. Despite people presenting with covid symptoms last week, isolation and testing was delayed until Friday. Basic failures of tracking and tracing has meant that the source of the infection, which will have come from outside the Park Hotel from Serco or Border Force staff, has not been identified. “The government has failed to implement the most basic Covid protocols,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The government has created the conditions most likely to cause maximum infection among a very vulnerable group of people. More Covid cases in the Park Hotel are inevitable. “The Park Hotel is a Covid incubator. Refugees are being housed on levels 2 and 3, just one level above guys who are Covid-positive. The hotel is circulating air-conditioned air. The windows in the hotel cannot be opened - Border Force actually sealed them shut after refugees were moved in the hotel last December.” “Victoria may be opening up for Friday, but the refugees are still locked in a most dangerous situation. The confirmed Covid cases and those who are symptomatic should not be in the Park Hotel,” said Rintoul. “The government has confined them to the Park Hotel for no reason; now lives are being put at risk. The hotel should be finally evacuated and the refugees freed; freed for the threat of covid and freed from persecution.” For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713