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Melbourne Detention on Covid Alert

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE 09/10/2021

IMHS staff tested all people detained in Bass 2 compound for Covid Friday night, just hours after Border Force declared that they were considered to be close contacts of a Serco officer who has tested positive for the virus.

Photo shows International Health and Medical Service (IHMS) staff in full PPE dispensing daily medications in Bass 2 on Friday evening.

Some of those detained, like Ivan who was diagnosed with diabetes while in detention, who are particularly vulnerable because of underlying medical conditions, are extremely concerned that slip-shod Border Force protocols have left them dangerously exposed to possible infection.

The risk is heightened by crowded accommodation. People in Bass2 are housed in small rooms with double bunks making social distancing impossible. Similarly, meals are being taken to detainees' rooms but it is impossible for two people to socially distance inside the rooms.

Video clip shows inside the Bass 2 compound.

"Covid has been a disaster waiting to happen. And while the rest of the country is talking of opening up - people in immigration detention are locked in and vulnerable," said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

"Detention has always been a health risk. Covid has made that even worse. Normal Covid rules are not regularly followed in detention, as the government is more interested in maintaining its detention policies than protecting people's health."

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.


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