Joint Statement from the Department of Justice and Equality and the HSE on the Measures to Protect Direct Provision Residents during COVID-19
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Justice and Equality and the HSE have worked closely together to support the health and welfare of asylum seekers and refugees availing of the State’s accommodation services.
Together, we have put in place a range of measures in all of the Department’s Accommodation Centres to address any cases of COVID-19 if or when they arise. This includes provision for self-isolation facilities in Centres and a number of offsite self-isolation Centres around the State. In all matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health advice from the HSE and the National Public Health Emergency Team is followed.
The established procedure across all Centres where a person is suspected of having the virus or is confirmed as having the virus, is that, where advised by Public Health, they are moved to a dedicated offsite self-isolation facility. Supports are available for the duration of their period of quarantine until such time as the HSE considers that they can return to their centre with no risk to other residents or staff.
Both the Department of Justice and Equality and the HSE are committed to protecting the identity and medical confidentiality of residents, as required by law. For this reason, neither the Department nor the HSE will give specific information about individuals or locations. The health authorities will only comment on cases or outbreaks of any illness (Covid-19 or otherwise) if there is a Public Health reason to do so.
Residents of Centres are subject to the same current public health measures as the rest of the population, for example, the right to exercise within a 2km radius, attend medical appointments or to shop for food or other necessities as set out in Government guidelines. The HSE also follows additional Health Protection Surveillance Centre guidance for residents in Accommodation Centres which can be found on HPSC.ie.
The Department of Justice and Equality and the HSE will continue to work together for the benefit of International Protection Applicants and the general population.