Nauru refugees face COVID and cost of living crisis; More COVID in MITA

Three refugees, one Pakistani and two others, have been hospitalised as a serious COVID outbreak hits Nauru.

Accurate statistics are difficult to find, but the President of Nauru reported there were 156 positive cases on Sunday 19 June, now reprted to be 160 cases. The President’s report indicates there were four people were in the RON hospital. 

But refugees on Nauru are extremely anxious, reporting that the hospital is ill-equipped to deal with acute Covid cases; with no adequate medical care. While  the US government supplied some ventilators to Nauru in 2020,  there is no oxygen available in the hospital to operate them.

Meanwhile the cost-of-living crisis has also hit Nauru pushing refugees and asylum seekers further into poverty.  The allowance paid to refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru remains at $100 a week.

But eggs are $10 a carton, onions $13 a kilo, and potatoes $12-$15 a kilo.

“The new Labor government has to make sure that no one is left behind on Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Morrison’s contract with Canstruct has put hundreds of millions of dollars in the private company’s profits, but refugees still held on Nauru are struggling to buy the basics on the island. Their allowance must be increased.

“Now, the COVID outbreak is immediately putting their lives in danger. The Albanese government should bring all the refugees and asylum seekers to safety in Australia.”

COVID SPREADS IN MITA

The Park Hotel in Melbourne that infamously held Medevac refugees transferred from Nauru and Manus Island, is now holding more than 17 immigration detainees who tested positive for COVID in MITA, Melbourne detention centre.

Introduced into MITA by Serco guards, COVID has spread through at least two compounds, Bass 2 and Avon, with around 20 and 16 cases respectively, as of 18 June.  That’s two-thirds of all the residents of Bass 2, and the numbers in Avon are growing.

“The spread of COVID in MITA is a scandal. It follows numerous historical, and on-going, protocol failures at the detention centre.  And the government has still not removed the immigration detainees with underlying health conditions from the high-risk centre,” said Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713