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“Ruby” Mantra Guard Confirmed with Covid19

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Updated 9:04 pm 12 July 2020.

It has been confirmed to detainees by the Australian Border Force tonight that a guard at the Mantra APOD has tested positive for Coronavirus. The staff member has not worked at the APOD for several days. However, rumours of another two cases among Serco guards are also gaining credibility. As reported via Eyes On Offshore (FB), Farhad Bandesh (FB) & @FarhadBandesh (Twitter).

Necropolitics & Tudge There was unprecedented deep cleaning today at the Mantra Hotel in Preston, Victoria.

Health risks for detainees in the “Ruby” Mantra Hotel in the Melbourne Covid-19 hotspot of Preston are of paramount concern. Today, on the ABC programme Insiders, Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge stood firm against resettling Medevac Detainees in the community.

Earlier today @StefanArmbruster highlighted the statements from Minister Tudge:

Alan Tudge quotes via @StefArmbruster

Refugee advocate Jane Salmon said today: “The exposure of Medevac detainees to high risk Covid situations because they won’t go home amounts to necropolitics. These are life or death decisions for people who have already fled torture in their countries of origin and remained here despite brutal Government pressure to return”. 

The health of the Manus & Nauru cohort held in indefinite detention on and offshore for up to 8 years is of particular concern. It is hard to determine the exact health status of every “guest” held or quarantined in the “Ruby” Mantra Hotel in the Melbourne Covid-19 hotspot of Preston. Airline crews, foreign travellers, overseas quarantine cases, immigration quarantine & perhaps also positive cases appear to be warehoused in one place. If people are in fact being transferred between MITA in Broadmeadows and the Mantra for quarantine, once they are exposed to COVID-19 positive guards or once they develop coughs, that is serious for the #7YearsTooLong #Medevac detainees on Level 3. In every sense, these sunlight deprived hostages tend to be immuno-suppressed sitting-ducks. 

Sixty Medevac detainees from Manus & Nauru have been held at the hotel awaiting medical attention for up to a year with no clarity about their futures (although granted legitimate refugee status). Moreover, they have been denied visitors, excursions and resources to mitigate or improve their situation even outside Covid “lockdown”.

The daunting reality of being held in a room for 12 months after 7 years of offshore detention or another form of confinement makes the mental health issues of regular citizens struggling with a few weeks or months of lockdown or Covid isolation seem paltry.

Transfers occur between MITA and Mantra regularly.

Worse, it has been claimed by refugees that several MITA guards are now “sick”. Guards may be pooled by Serco with companies managing hotel quarantine.  Further evidence of the Mantra mix of quarantine & detention is out there and is being sought from hotel staff, hotel guests and detainees as well as the Dan Andrews Government and the federal Department of Home Affairs (immigration).

Tweets via @rebekahhlt

Some Medevac refugees do not choose to chance their luck in Corona-raddled America and have stayed firm against government harassment to return to the countries they fled, for up to 8 years. The Australian Government has not taken up attractive offers from New Zealand or Canada. It has been established that the many guards pooled via Serco may in fact be undertrained in PPE and hygiene. Shortages of masks, gloves, sanitiser, soap and bleach or metho have hit hotels and detention facilities on and off since March. The government departments using hotels do not seem capable of guaranteeing supply. Community detention options have been declined by the Morrison Government clinging to their cruel Sovereign Borders rhetoric. Since 2013, the Commonwealth has invested billions in taxpayer funding to prosecute offshore methods of boat deterrence. 

There are similar concerns at the Kangaroo Point APOD Hotel in Brisbane and the main detention centres.

Image from Farhad Bandesh via @FarhadBandesh

Additional refugee, medical & expert contacts are available from:

Jane Salmon

Refugee Advocate

NSW 2071


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