‘Sitting ducks’ For COVID-19: Detention or Death Trap?
COVID-19 has already overwhelmed many of the best equipped healthcare systems in the world. The United States and United Kingdom, despite ranking high on the list of pandemic preparedness by the Global Health Security Index, have both seen massive numbers of deaths. They have faced widespread concern about the lack of ventilators and PPE. If these healthcare systems have fared poorly, this does not bode well for the majority of the world’s population who do not have access to such a high standard of healthcare. Over-crowded communities rife with malnutrition and communicable diseases. Without access to healthcare and basic sanitation, these communities will have devastatingly poor health outcomes in the face of this pandemic. One of these populations is that of refugees and people seeking asylum, both globally and in Australia. It is imperative that we do what we can to protect these vulnerable people from the devastation of COVID-19. In Australia, this means moving people from overcrowded onshore immigration detention centres, into community detention where they can appropriately and safely socially distance.