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Fears Of 'Major Crisis' Amid Covid Outbreak At Kent Barracks Housing Asylum Seekers

Sarah Turnnidge
·2-min read
Asylum seekers held inside Napier Barracks sleeping outside in protest against conditions on January 12.
Asylum seekers held inside Napier Barracks sleeping outside in protest against conditions on January 12.

There are growing fears of a “major crisis” at military barracks housing asylum seekers in Kent amid reports of 120 people having tested positive for coronavirus.

Around 400 people are living at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where a virus outbreak has added to serious concerns over “nightmare” conditions.

The people living at the barracks have described the situation as “unbearable” and say social distancing is impossible.

There have been reports of suicide attempts and earlier this month many residents went on hunger strike in protest at the conditions, which reportedly include 34 people sharing one shower.

The complex is surrounded by barbed-wire topped fences and hosted Canadian troops in the Second World War.

A petition to shut down the site, along with a similar facility at a barracks in Wales, has amassed more than 10,000 signatures in just two days.

The Home Office, which commandeered the site last year, insists the accommodation in Kent is “safe, suitable, (and) Covid-compliant”.

An open letter to “all British citizens” from an asylum seeker living at Napier Barracks and reportedly signed by more than 200 other residents has been shared by refugee charity Choose Love.

The letter calls out home secretary Priti Patel and immigration minister Chris Philp over conditions at the site.

It says: “We came to this country to save our lives. Lives which were mostly in danger because of war and prosecution.

“Yet we found ourselves in an army camp and we are surrounded by fences and security guards.”

The undated letter says that at least 120 cases of coronavirus have been identified at the barracks with more...

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