The Barcelona City Council and the entities in defense of human rights have asked the judge to order the closure of the Center for the Internment of Foreigners (CIE) in the Catalan capital after detecting the first positive of an inmate after its reopening at the end of the month of September. In parallel to the judicial process, the council and entities have once again demanded the Ministry of the Interior to dismantle the CIE, something that until now the central Executive has rejected.
The difficulties in deporting internal migrants in the CIEs Derived from the state of alarm and the reduction of flights abroad caused the closure of these centers during the month of March. As most of the inmates are not accused of any crime but are deprived of liberty due to their administrative situation as they do not have the papers in order, the Police then proceeded to release the migrants. But the return to normality brought coupled with the reopening of the CIE at the end of September.
The position of the City Council, which has always opposed the opening of the CIE in a pandemic context, is supported now that a positive has been detected by a report from the Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB). A team from this municipal entity made a visit to the center last Sunday upon receiving notification that a coronavirus contagion had been diagnosed.
The conclusions of the Barcelona public health agency are that the CIE lacks a contingency plan in case outbreaks are detected and that it also does not have the capacity to isolate close contacts, thus demanding that inmates be evicted. Right now, the center has two large modules – one with 40 people and the other with 41 – and only four individual rooms for insulation.
According to the ASPB report, it is the CIE’s acting director himself who recognizes that quarantines cannot be properly complied with. “He himself comments that it is not possible to individually quarantine these close contacts or keep them in their rooms,” says the Public Health document. The report adds that the director did not provide them with their action protocol in cases of COVID-19, but that they should still also have a “contingency plan” to carry out “structural” transformations of the space.
When the center reopened on the 6th, 19 of the 81 inmates who entered were tested. On day 9 the results were received and one of them was positive. “At that time the positive case and the two people with whom he shared a room were isolated in three individual rooms of preventive isolation. [por el 15 de octubre] one of the close contacts of the case has begun to have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and we have recommended that this person be isolated in the fourth and last room of preventive isolation available to them, “the report summarizes.
“They must leave the equipment”
“Given that it is not possible to isolate in conditions because the physical space cannot be sectored, which implies a risk to public health, these people must leave the facility,” summarized the City Council Health Councilor, Gemma Tarafa. The mayor has also regretted that the workers of the center asked on the 13th for a PCR to be carried out and have not obtained a response.
For all these reasons, the City Council has submitted a letter to the Barcelona judge in charge of the control of the CIE of the Free Trade Zone, requesting its closure “until the right to physical integrity and health” of the inmates, police and other officials who work at the facility.
For their part, the entities Irídia and Migrastudium have asked the judge that, in addition to closing the CIE, agree to order the Ministry of the Interior to locate “adequate and alternative spaces” to the facility so that people positive for coronavirus or who have resulted in close contacts of an infected person can be quarantined “in dignified conditions.” They also demand that the rest of the inmates “have a humanitarian reception resource in decent conditions given the current health situation”.
Irídia and Migrastudium recall the precedent of the control judge of the CIE of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, who has placed in a maximum of 42 inmates the capacity of the center to be able to comply with adequate sanitary conditions against the virus and has set the closure of the installation in case a positive is detected.