COVID-19: Coronavirus outbreak at Waterford direct provision centre – report
Asylum seekers at a direct provision centre in Waterford have tested positive for Covid-19, according to reports this morning.
Coronavirus cases have been confirmed at centres in Wicklow, Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford, where there is little or no scope for physical distancing and limited provision for self-isolation. Some have been taken to hospital, , according to a report in today’s Sunday Times.
A number of hotels in Waterdford city and county have been transformed for use as direct provision centres in recent years. However, the names of the individual hotels where the Covid-19 cases have been confirmed have not been released.
The Department of Justice is trying to ease the pressure on centres by providing 650 extra-beds beds. Some 230 people will be moved from direct centres to hotels in Dublin, Cork and Galway this weekend.
Third-level colleges in a “university of sanctuary” network have proposed providing up to 5,000 places in vacant student accommodation on campus for HSE staff and for people in vulnerable situations, including asylum seekers.
There are currently more than 5,600 people, including 1,739 children, in direct provision and a further 1,600 people, including 285 children, in emergency accommodation.
The Department of Justice said it is working “intensively” on the issue and that the majority of the 650 beds would be used to “support social distancing”.
“Further off-site self-isolation facilities are being examined on a regional basis,” it told the newspaper.