We spoke to the chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who echoed criticisms of the Home Office and its decision to house large numbers of asylum seekers at former army barracks, Napier and Penally.
She says “substantial” coronavirus outbreaks were “unsurprising” given the cramped conditions asylum seekers were living in.
The Home Office told Channel 4 News that it is meeting its statutory obligation to provide asylum seekers with accommodation and that all public health advice has been followed.
It added that following the Covid outbreak at Napier “we attempted to put people into different ‘cohorts’ in line with Public Health England guidance, but some people refused to move accommodation. Asylum seekers at Napier are not detained, nor are their accommodation arrangements enforced. Also, during the disturbances at the end of January there was considerable mixing between people.”
The Home Office added: “On public health advice we have not moved anyone new onto site and will not until the outbreak has been declared over. Currently no one accommodated at Napier is Covid positive.”