Due to a more infectious variant, Coronavirus is spreading far more rapidly than it ever has done in immigration detention. Brook House IRC was forced to close earlier in January due to an outbreak that spread out of control over a number of weeks, with remaining detainees moved to Colnbrook IRC. There has now been a further outbreak at Harmondsworth IRC. Coronavirus is also spreading rapidly in many prisons where immigration detainees are being held.It is now clearer than it has ever been that the continued use of immigration detention cannot be consistent with public health and undermines national efforts to bring coronavirus under control. The Home Secretary herself this week urged people to ‘play your part’ in the fight against coronavirus, reiterating the urgency of the situation. We therefore urge the government to:
- Release all immigration detainees to safe and suitable accommodation
- Confirm that no removals will take place until coronavirus has been brought under control.
- Release regular data on coronavirus in immigration detention – such as the monthly data released by the Ministry of Justice on coronavirus in prisons