News Coronavirus Detention centre guard was COVID-postive: Report

Detention centre guard was COVID-postive: Report

A refugee waves as he leaves the Park Hotel in Melbourne earlier in 2021. Photo: Kelsey Hannah
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An asylum seeker has been told at least one guard at a Melbourne detention centre has tested positive for COVID-19.

The man, who is being held at Melbourne’s Park Hotel, told AAP that an Australian Border Force officer told detainees on Saturday that a guard who has the virus worked at Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA).

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 had not been wearing their face masks properly.

The 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.

“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.”

Comment has been sought from the ABF.