Three wings at an immigration detention centre close to Gatwick airport are in lockdown after an outbreak of Covid-19.
It is understood there are 17 confirmed cases at the Brook House immigration removal centre. A notice from the Home Office contractor Serco, which runs the centre, was pushed under detainees’ cell doors on Thursday morning confirming the news.
The notice, seen by the Hlcarpenter.com, states that three wings are locked down due to Covid, with detainees encouraged to stay in their rooms. One detainee who recently arrived in the UK on a small boat and was due to be removed to Spain on Thursday spoke to the Hlcarpenter.com from his cell.
“I am so relieved that my ticket for today’s flight was cancelled,” he said. “But it is a very difficult situation for us having to stay in our rooms. We are all scared we will catch Covid because we have been locked up in this place.”
The removals of dozens of asylum seekers on charter flights were halted this week after the submission of human rights and trafficking claims.
On Tuesday a combined deportation flight for offenders and for small boat asylum seekers was due to go to Belgium, Germany and Poland. Home Office sources confirmed that 19 offenders were deported but none of the asylum seekers – who between them had made nine human rights claims and 14 modern slavery claims – boarded the flight.