Protests are reported in a reception centre in Halberstadt, where more than 800 people have been under lockdown since Friday 27 March due to positive COVID-19 tests in the facility. The insufficient hygiene, supply of food and lack of space to ensure social distance leaves the residents extremely exposed.
After confirmed cases in the facility access to leave was suspended and exits are now controlled by security guards. The combination of limited space for physically distancing themselves, the lack of sufficient hygiene products and adequate sanitary facilities, and the lack of information in multiple languages caused alarm among residents. While the lockdown aims to prevent the virus spreading to the outside of the centre, residents inside feel unprotected. Currently there are 30 people who have been tested positive and evacuated to another facility.
The situation led to a protest last Saturday by some residents, who clashed with security guards. Around 100 refugees entered a hunger strike. Additionally, residents issued a letter demanding enough supply of food, hygiene products as well as protective gloves for all residents. Also, an immediate evacuation of elderly, people with a precondition, pregnant women and families. After a meeting between residents and the facility management, an improvement of the situation is promised.
For further information:
- ECRE, Weekly Editorial: Europe COVID 19: Reaching the Bottom or Rising Above, April 2020
- ECRE, Germany: Temporary Suspension of Dublin Returns Due to COVID-19, March 2020