The Australian Government is detaining around 200 people, brought from offshore detention to Australia for medical care, in hotels around Australia.

Today the Home Affairs Department confirmed that an employee of the private security company Serco – hired by the Australian Government to detain refugees and asylum seekers in these hotels – has tested positive for coronavirus. The employee worked at Melbourne’s Mantra Hotel. 

Call acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge and demand he urgently provide refugees with access to healthcare services and mental health support until it is safe for them to be transferred into community detention.

Around the world, Governments have been responding to calls from medical professionals to release refugees and asylum seekers in the face of the coronavirus, as the social distancing recommendations in place cannot be maintained under the current detention conditions. Unfortunately, the Australian Government didn’t listen.  

Under current conditions, refugees and asylum seekers are forced to share rooms with a dozen others. Hallways are cramped and hand sanitiser is not readily available. 

All those detained in these conditions were originally brought to Australia for medical treatment, many suffer from breathing issues and they are truly some of our most vulnerable. 

There are people in the community willing to accept refugees and asylum seekers into their homes, simply so they can practice the same health measures as the rest of us. Medical experts have advised that under these conditions, they pose no health risk to the community. 

Will you call acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge and demand he urgently ensure all those at the Mantra Hotel in Melbourne have access to healthcare services and mental health support until it is safe for them to be transferred into community detention? 

13 people have lost their lives as a consequence of Australia’s offshore detention regime. We cannot allow any more people to die. Right now, every voice matters.