Last night (Monday, 27th July), the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) was advised by a staff member that they had tested positive for COVID-19.

The ASRC has developed strict COVID-19 protocols and carefully planned for our organisations’ response to a potential positive COVID-19 case according to the advice of Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 

The wellbeing and safety of our workforce, people seeking asylum and the community is our greatest concern and priority.

We therefore immediately closed all ASRC sites prior to our workforce commencing work today. 

As a precautionary measure, terminal cleans will soon begin on all ASRC sites and we will be led by the DHHS regarding contact tracing. 

We are in constant contact with staff, volunteers and people seeking asylum to offer our support. 

We will offer appropriate leave and full pay to our staff to ensure that those who need to get tested can do so and safely self-isolate, without the worry of a loss of income.  

The ASRC is a lifeline for thousands of vulnerable people facing homelessness and food insecurity. The ASRC’s pandemic planning has been developed to ensure the continuity of critical services and we’re here to help.  

We will continue to safely and remotely deliver critical services until we are advised that we can safely reopen.  This includes ensuring food security, emergency housing assistance, legal advice, medical assistance and casework support.

Our thoughts are with the impacted staff member who we will continue to support and we wish them a speedy and full recovery.

ASRC CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis said: “Given the unprecedented pandemic impacting all our lives, we have been planning for this scenario for months. We have taken early and swift action to close down all ASRC sites to protect staff, people seeking asylum and the community.”

“The ASRC has the capacity to deliver essential services remotely and will continue to do so.  We are committed to the health and safety of our people and the community and we will remain that vital safety net for the thousands of people seeking asylum who rely on us.  We are supporting all of our staff with special paid leave to safely get tested and self isolate, if required.”

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For more information and interviews, please contact: Marcella Brasett on 0411 026 142

If you are a person seeking asylum, please note The ASRC Offices are closed until further notice.  However, our services remain available and are operating offsite.  We are able to help you.  Please call 03 9326 6066 and if you can’t get through, call back later.

Please be aware we are experiencing a high volume of calls, so your patience is appreciated.

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