Refugee Action Coalition
MEDIA RELEASE 4 Sept 2021
Two MMS security guards at Melbourne's Broadmeadows detention centre (MITA), have tested positive for Covid.
Refugees and immigration detainees in two compounds have been exposed to the infected guards. Covid vaccination at MITA only started last Wednesday, so there are many with no vaccination at all.
The guards' tests returned positive this morning, but it is unclear for how many days they might have exposed other staff and detainees. Refugee Action Coalition has been told at least nine other guards from this afternoon's security shift have been told to isolate.
"The federal and state governments have been warned so many times that it was just a matter of time. The federal government 's own literature says detention centres are a danger zone," said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
"The detention is a particular worry, as many detainees have underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness. The people in immigration detention should be released. It is a disgrace that they have not been released before this, but it's time for the government to act."
So far, there has been no mention of covid testing for the people in detention.
The Department of Home Affairs advised that, as at 28 September 2020, 247 people in closed immigration detention were assessed as particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
The Australian Human Rights Commission recommended in June 2021 among other things that , "The following groups should be prioritised for release from closed immigration detention:
• people assessed to be at risk of health complications if they contract COVID-19
• refugees and asylum seekers transferred from Nauru and PNG for medical assessment or treatment, and
• those accommodated in dormitory-style accommodation in low-medium security compounds."
But that recommendation has been ignored.
For more information contact Ian Rintoil 0417 275 713