Refugees in Brisbane claim they cannot maintain adequate social distancing due to their living conditions.
Refugees in Brisbane claim they cannot maintain adequate social distancing due to their living conditions. AAP - Dan Peled

'We aren't safe': Worried refugees protest

Dozens of refugees have protested at a makeshift detention centre in inner Brisbane, worried about the spread of the coronavirus given the cramped conditions they're living in.

One 27-year-old refugee, who asked not to be named, said the group of 120 people deserved the same rights as everyone else in Australia.

"There's no distancing here which is really dangerous for us. If one guy was infected here, then all of us would be infected," he said.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia now stands at 5540.

There are 2493 cases in NSW, 1115 in Victoria, 900 in Queensland, 407 in South Australia, 436 in Western Australia, 80 in Tasmania, 93 in the Australian Capital Territory and 26 in the Northern Territory.

The national death toll stands at 30.

Follow our live, rolling coverage below.

Originally published as 'We aren't safe': Worried refugees protest

14 new cases confirmed in WA

Alle McMahon

Fourteen new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Western Australia, including five from the German cruise liner Artania, which will remain docked at Fremantle for another fortnight.

The new cases bring the state's total to 436 and include another case in the Kimberley. The region's tally now stands at 13.

"We continue to hold concerns for that region," Health Minister Roger Cook told reporters on Saturday.

The Artania cruise ship docked at Fremantle. Picture: Colin Murty/The Australian

Four of the new cases are related to overseas travel and one is still under investigation. Four relate to cruise ships other than the Artania.

The ship arrived on March 25 and was told to remain at anchor offshore, with WA Premier Mark McGowan insisting he wanted it to leave and would not allow a repeat of the Ruby Princess debacle, but it was forced to dock due to medical emergencies.

The ship's operator Phoenix Reisen says the Artania's 14-day quarantine period officially began on Friday night, so it will remain in Fremantle until at least April 17 under an agreement with the Commonwealth.

Mr Cook said both the state and federal governments were keen to get the vessel offshore without jeopardising the health of remaining crew, who are being isolated in cabins and monitored.

Of 26 crew members sent into quarantine at a city hotel on Friday, four have since been transferred to hospital.

Phoenix Reisen said the federal government had agreed to allow some crew to eventually fly home to the Philippines and Indonesia.

About 850 of the vessel's fit travellers were flown back to Europe last weekend but a handful of remaining passengers are being quarantined in a Perth hotel.

A 69-year-old foreign man - one of 55 confirmed cases from the ship - died in hospital on Thursday.

Phoenix Reisen said he had suffered previous illnesses.

-AAP

Assange won't be released amid virus

Alle McMahon

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange isn't eligible to be temporarily released from jail as part of the UK government's plan to mitigate coronavirus in prisons.

There are now 88 prisoners and 15 staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the country and more than a quarter of prison staff are absent or self-isolating due to the pandemic.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has announced that selected low-risk offenders, who are within weeks of their release dates, will be GPS-tagged and temporarily freed to ease pressure on the National Health Service.

"This government is committed to ensuring that justice is served to those who break the law," he said in a statement on Saturday.
"But this is an unprecedented situation because if coronavirus takes hold in our prisons, the NHS could be overwhelmed and more lives put at risk".

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will not be temporarily released from jail. Picture: Justin Tallis/AFP

The Ministry of Justice confirmed with AAP that Julian Assange, who is being held on remand in Belmarsh prison, will not be temporarily released because he's not serving a custodial sentence and therefore not eligible.

The government is also working to expedite sentencing hearings for those on remand to reduce crowding in jails, but the Australian won't be affected by that measure either.
The WikiLeaks founder is only one week into his four-week US extradition hearing and at this stage it's uncertain whether it will resume as planned at Woolwich Crown Court on May 18.
Assange's next procedural hearing is set for the Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

- AAP

11:42 pmApril 4, 2020Highlight

Worried refugees protest in Brisbane

Alle McMahon

Refugees at a makeshift detention centre in inner Brisbane are worried about the spread of COVID-19 given the cramped conditions they're living in.

Dozens of refugees on Saturday protested on the verandah of a Kangaroo Point hotel which houses refugees transferred from offshore detention to receive specialist medical treatment.

The men claim they cannot maintain adequate social distancing due to their living conditions. Pictures: AAP/Dan Peled

They called for better protection amid the coronavirus pandemic with one 27-year-old refugee, who asked not to be named, saying the group of 120 people deserved the same rights as everyone else in Australia.

"There's no distancing here which is really dangerous for us," he told AAP on Saturday.

"If one guy was infected here, then all of us would be infected."

They called on the Morrison government to give them a safe place in the community to live where they can practise social distancing.

"We just want our safety, we need our rights," he said.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre urged the federal government to act to ensure the safety of people in immigration detention centres.

An ASRC spokeswoman told AAP on Saturday the refugees at Kangaroo Point live in cramped conditions and are "really scared" there will be a COVID-19 outbreak.

There are about 1400 people held in detention centres across Australia.

Human rights lawyers are urging the government to reduce the number of people in these crammed spaces and release them into safer spaces, the ASRC said in a statement.

- AAP



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