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20 April 2020 – Ireland

A hotel that was converted to a “direct provision” asylum reception site in the town of Cahersiveen has been placed under lockdown after several residents tested positive for Covid-19. More than one hundred asylum seekers were transferred four weeks ago to the hotel to await the outcomes of their asylum procedures. All the residents have been confined to the hotel since 19 April. An asylum-seeker at the Cahersiveen Direct Provision center spoke to RTÉ Ireland, claiming that he was concerned about his safety. He mentioned that ‘’Residents are being asked to wear a mask when they leave their rooms, but they are being given just one mask each day and must reuse it every time they leave their room.’’ The residents share many areas such as the lifts, dining room and stairs and while they are allowed to eat in their bedroom, they must collect their meals themselves at the dining room.

The facility has sparked public opposition driven in part by concern that the government may have placed people in the facility who were previously exposed to the vires. The Department of Justice responded saying that they had implemented a range of measures in all direct provision centres to address cases of Covid-19, including the provision of self-isolation facilities and offsite isolation centres.”If the concerns locally are that the people may have recently arrived from a region affected by Covid-19, I can confirm that no one in the group of 105 has been in this country for less than two months and all have been health screened by the HSE-led medical team at our reception centre in Baleseskin, North Dublin on their arrival,” a spokesperson for the Department said.