Corona outbreak in the initial reception center

On Thursday, Kassel was officially declared a corona risk area. The trigger was the infection of at least one that had become known the day before 112 Residents of the refugee facility in Niederzwehren with the virus. We spoke to a resident by phone about the local conditions.

They have been there for over a week now 301 Residents isolated from the outside world in the rooms of the Kassel initial reception center. This was put under collective quarantine last Friday after Covid 19 tests by five residents and one employee were positive. The local people are scared and find themselves in a small space in five- or six-person rooms in isolation.

Several residents of the property reported, that they were not sufficiently informed about the extent of the infection and the measures imposed, neither at the beginning of the outbreak nor at the moment. The hygiene- and distance rules could and continue to be largely not implemented by the residents due to the circumstances in the initial reception center. People who tested positive would have to share the common sanitary facilities and toilets with people who had previously tested negative. Although infected people are now in the rooms of the 1. and 2. Floor were separated, this would make adequate protection against the virus impossible.

The worries about the coming days and the anger at the prevailing conditions are therefore great. The press office had a conversation with a person in the accommodation about the current situation, which we reproduce in excerpts.

press office: “How are you? How is the mood in the camp?”

“The people are scared, it‘s crazy. Yesterday they separated the people who have corona from the one who don‘t have corona. Before that it was mixed, I didn‘t know if they can control it. They took them to the first and second floor. Today in the morning they lockdown everything.”

“How are the people dealing with the situation? It seams to be pretty hard to get separated and be unable to go outside.”

“Exactly. It‘s pretty hard. Before the lockdown, I heard of some people who have corona downstairs. From this time we couldn‘t go outside the building anymore. I was outside the camp by that time. Friday at six o’clock a friend called me and said: „They make the lockdown. If you come inside, you can’t go outside. Everybody has to make quarantine.“”

“Do you have the possibility to go out now or are you together with people who have corona?”

“Since friday we used the same toilets, the same rooms. A lot of people had contact with people who have corona. Now it‘s impossible to go out and get some air or to buy food and cigarettes. The food in the camp is very bad.”

“Do you think the local authorities dealt well with the information about the corona cases?

“Before they made the lockdown, I heard that some people here have corona and are in quarantine. The information was too late and some people didn‘t hear about it.”

“What is important for you now, what can be done to support you?

“I don‘t know. I am scared with the deportations. I don‘t think they will deport us in this situation but I don‘t know. They don‘t even tell us the deadline when the quarantine ends.”

Consequence of the warehouse system

The current conditions turn out to be the result of the central forced placement. In March of this year, the Hessian Refugee Council, along with others, called for the decentralized accommodation of refugees, to keep people adequately before the Corona- To protect against virus. The doctor responsible for the camp, Helmuth Greger, also pointed out in an interview with the Hessenschau am 15.10.2020 then, that the current development was predictable. Months ago, the responsible regional council in Gießen would have asked for a "crisis plan", to prevent the current situation.

A spokesman for the presidium, on the other hand, rejected the medical practitioner's request "from a technical point of view", "Because that could have triggered new chains of infection at other locations". That separate isolation for refugees is not even considered in medical emergencies, speaks volumes.

The residents have to bear the effects. The state of emergency has not just been in place for them since last week, but normality already represents catastrophe: Miserable living conditions and the constant threat of deportation are ubiquitous and everyday for most of them.

On Saturday the 17.10.2020 is starting 15:00 Uhr called for a rally in front of the initial reception facility in Frankfurter Straße 365a. The organizers want to show their solidarity with the residents of the accommodation on site and demand decentralized accommodation for refugees.