Australia

Asylum seekers say coronavirus has reached a Melbourne detention centre

Guards often shift detainees between the hotel and MITA, but the ABF officer told the asylum seeker that the guard hadn’t visited the hotel.

“This guy came and ABF – and he was like saying one of the staff get COVID but he is not been here – he didn’t come here (the hotel),” the asylum seeker told AAP.

“And people get very angry here.”

The man said fellow asylum seekers detained at the hotel were worried they were being put at risk as guards there had not been wearing their face masks properly.

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Refugee Action Coalition said they had been told another guard at MITA has also tested positive with at least nine other guards who were working on Saturday afternoon told to isolate.

“The federal and state governments have been warned so many times that it was just a matter of time,” RAC spokesperson Ian Rintoul said in a statement.

“The federal government ‘s own literature says detention centres are a danger zone.

“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.”

Victorian COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne.

Source: AAP


Speaking to the media on Sunday morning, Victorian COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed one guard had tested positive for COVID-19, but said he was unaware of any further cases in the facility.

“The individual was a security guard who worked on the outside-facing parts of the premises, so (there was) no contact within the facility or any of the staff who worked within the facility.

“We have had no positive test come out of that facility at the moment, with is good news and we will continue to maintain the wider support around there.”

SBS News has approached the Department of Home Affairs for comment.

In a statement to independent journalist Rebekha Holt, a spokesperson for the ABF said no detainees had tested positive.

“As at 4 September 2021, no detainee in an immigration detention facility has tested positive to COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.

“Due to privacy, the ABF does not comment on individual matters.” 



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