Hanratty's Hostel Limerick
THE Department of Justice has declined to comment on reports of a cluster of coronavirus cases at a Direct Provision Centre in Limerick.
Sources from within Hanratty's Hostel have confirmed to the Limerick Leader that a number of residents have tested positive for the deadly condition.
It comes after the majority of the centre's 100 residents – predominantly asylum seekers – were tested on Wednesday.
The Limerick Leader understands the results came back on Thursday night, and a number of residents were removed from the centre then. A further group were taken away this Friday.
An ambulance, and a number of health workers, dressed in protective suits, were witnessed outside the centre last night at around nine o'clock.
The occupants have moved to a secure isolation facility.
A resident in the facility at Lower Glentworth Street - who did not wish to be identified - said: "We are scared. We are waiting to see if there any more results. I'm worried myself. Two people who tested positive come from my landing. So it's a big thing. I have an underlying condition too."
Covid-19 testing in Glentworth street by Civil Defence. Suspected cases in Hanratty's hostel, Limerick @Limerick_Leader @CathyHalloran @limerickpost @LimerickToday @Live95fmNews @Nick468official @HSELive pic.twitter.com/9R1ep4hCEH— Leah (@Leah25187381) May 1, 2020
It's understood the testing was carried out after a number of residents expressed their concerns to management.
In a statement, John Lannon, the director of the migrant rights organisation Doras Luimni said they have huge concerns at the risk of a coronavirus outbreak in Direct Provision centres.
"Many like Hanratty's are overcrowded, with people who are strangers to each other made to share rooms in cramped conditions, with little option throughout the centre for social distancing. We have been providing hand-sanitiser to residents since the beginning of the outbreak, but what needed to be done was to move people out to other accommodations around Limerick, at least for the duration of Covid-19, so that unrelated individuals are not sharing bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms," he said.
Doras Luimni had been looking at securing vacant university accommodation in an effort to reduce the number of people in a room.
“With outbreaks happening in a number of Direct Provision centres around Ireland, we can now see that the Department of Justice responses to date have been inadequate. We hope that our clients and friends in Hanratty's, who we work with daily, stay safe and well,” they added.
Hanratty's Hostel referred queries from the Limerick Leader to the Department of Justice.
A spokesperson for the department said: "We don’t confirm cases or clusters for any person. Issues relating to testing are solely a matter for the HSE and the chief medical officer.
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