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18th May 2020, 09:03:59 UTC

We have days, not weeks, to act for people in Direct Provision. They need somewhere safe now.

During COVID-19, we should all have the same access to care and safety – and no one can be left behind.

People in Direct Provision are facing the same pandemic as all of us. Every hour counts when fighting this outbreak. People at higher risk from Covid-19 have to be moved out of the centres immediately, and everyone needs a way to be safe.

They need our support and solidarity now.

People seeking asylum have the same right as everyone else to have their health and lives protected. The message from the Government is to stay home and keep our distance from other people. For people at high risk, they should already be ‘cocooning’ themselves. But people in Direct Provision simply can’t do this.

How can you effectively socially distance or self-isolate in a crowded Direct Provision centre? How can protect yourself and your loved ones, if you can’t follow the public health guidance? How can you do your part to help ‘flatten the curve’ of the outbreak, when the accommodation the government has put you in makes it impossible to do so?

The government has announced some steps, such as additional bed spaces. But this isn’t going to solve the problem. And it still needs to immediately move those all of those higher risk from Covid-19 to somewhere where they can self-isolate, so people don’t become severely ill or die.

This pandemic has shown again just how unjust and inhumane the Direct Provision system is.

Now more than ever, we need to stand together in solidarity. This moment makes it clear that no one is safe until we are ALL safe. To stop the spread of the virus, we can’t leave anyone behind.

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