We take the wellbeing of asylum seekers extremely seriously. We provide them with safe, suitable, Covid-secure accommodation where they receive three meals a day, all paid for by the taxpayer.
We have been following public health advice at all times and the accommodation at Napier remains safe, suitable and Covid-secure. This has included putting in place a range of infection control measures and configuring the site so that social distancing can be maintained.
Despite our best efforts and the robust measures in place at our sites, a number of asylum seekers accommodated at Napier recently tested positive for coronavirus.
It was also incredibly disappointing that a number of individuals refused coronavirus tests and had refused to self-isolate or follow social distancing rules, despite repeated requests to do so.
In line with advice from Public Health England and as part of our outbreak management plan, the Home Office moved a number asylum seekers out of the site who had not tested positive for coronavirus. The purpose of this move was to allow others at Napier to self-isolate more easily and facilitate a deep clean of the site.
An independent rapid review was also recently conducted to assure ourselves of the extensive COVID-19 protocols in place to safeguard the health and safety of asylum seekers during the pandemic. The Home Office is currently reviewing and acting upon the recommendations of the review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations in due course. We will also hold round tables with stakeholders to discuss the recommendations, actions taken and proposed next steps.
We continue to work closely with our provider and partners to identify opportunities for enhancement, as we do across our entire accommodation estate.