Third Refugee Detention Compound Locked Down in MITA

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA ALERT 27/10/2021 Refugees being held in the Broadmeadows Residential Precinct (BRP) compound of Melbourne's MITA detention centre, were notified late yesterday (Tuesday, 26 October) that the compound had been exposed to Covid by a Serco officer. They have been locked down in their housing units in the compound. People in BRP had their first Covid test this afternoon (27 October). There is no more detailed information available about the source of the infection. It is not known if the source is the same guard, or linked to the guard, who exposed Bass 2 to Covid on 26 October. Three days ago, on 26 October, another compound in MITA, Bass 2, was locked down for a further two weeks after being exposed to an infected Serco officer for a second time. Bass 2 has now been locked down since 8 October. Five individuals in Bass 1 have also been taken to isolation, after the Bass 2 exposure on 26 October. For two weeks, the residents in the BRP have requested Border Force and Serco to take extra precautions to prevent infection and to limit activities in BRP that could potentially expose them to officers infected with Covid. But those requests were ignored. There are already serious staff shortages in MITA because of the number of staff that have been required to isolate over the past few weeks. Tensions are rising inside the locked down compounds because of small meals and food shortages, also thought to be a product of the staff shortages. "Like the Park hotel, MITA has also been a disaster waiting to happen. Previous Covid incidents ast MITA should have been a warning to the government to release vulnerable people from the high-risk detention environment. But as always, policy came before concerns for the lives of people in immigration detention," said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, "Now, those lives are at risk." For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.