Protests were reported in the Halberstadt reception centre, where more than 800 people have been under lockdown since 27 March 2020 due to positive Covid-19 tests in the facility. The lack of sanitary products and effective hygiene measures highly increases the risk of infection. Reports indicate that up to 50 people share a single toilet and that due to overcrowding, physical distancing is impossible to implement. On 4 April 2020, residents started protesting against these conditions. 100 people began a hunger strike while others clashed with security guards. Residents of the reception centre issued a letter to the public requesting food, hygiene products including disposable gloves, relocation for the elderly, pregnant women and people with illnesses. In the evening of 4 April 2020, a meeting took place between residents and camp management and an improvement of the situation was promised.
Meanwhile, as increasing numbers of doctors and medical personnel in Germany contract Covid-19, “Germany’s health authorities are appealing to medically qualified migrants to help them tackle the coronavirus.” According to The Guardian (14 April), “The eastern state of Saxony is at the forefront of a campaign calling on foreign doctors, including the thousands of refugees who arrived in 2015, to help. According to the Facebook group Syrian Doctors in Germany there are 14,000 Syrian doctors waiting for their qualifications to be approved. … What makes Saxony’s plea salient is that it is the home of Pegida, the anti-Islam protest movement, and the heartland of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland party. The AfD rose to prominence – becoming the largest opposition in parliament in 2017 – on the back of voter anger over Angela Merkel’s decision to allow almost 1 million refugees into the country in 2015.”
- Kate Connolly (The Guardian), “Germany calls on migrant medics to help tackle coronavirus,” 14 April 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/14/germany-calls-on-migrant-medics-to-help-tackle-coronavirus
- AYS, “Protests in German Reception Centres as More Residents Test Positive,” Medium, 6 April 2020, https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-weekend-digest-4-5-4-2020-protests-in-german-reception-centres-94a48d31b45b
- Perspektive Online, “Refugees on Hunger Strike: ‘Close the Halberstadt Prison!’ – Security Reacts Brutally,” 4 April 2020, https://perspektive-online.net/2020/04/refugees-im-hungerstreik-schliesst-das-halberstadt-gefaengnis-security-reagiert-brutal/
- BAMF Office entrance in Halberstadt – https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/15271/saudi-women-refugees-in-germany-still-living-in-fear