COVID-19 outbreak at Sydney's Villawood detention centre grows

Sydney's Villawood detention centre has reported 33 cases of COVID-19, with 12 people still in isolation.

There are fears for a COVID-19 outbreak at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.

There are fears for a COVID-19 outbreak at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. Source: Supplied/SBS News

Thirty-three cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney as fears grow over the transmission of the virus at the facility.

However, 21 people who've previously tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and no longer need isolation, according to an ABF spokesperson.

In early January, it was reported that .

Fifty per cent of people held in Australia's immigration detention network have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Three per cent have received one dose, and 19 per cent of total detainees have received a third inoculation.

Villawood detention centre in Sydney.
Villawood detention centre in Sydney. Source: AAP

"All detainees in immigration detention facilities have been offered COVID-19 vaccinations," the spokesperson said.

"The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination program to consenting detainees commenced in early August 2021 and has taken place at all immigration detention facilities across the immigration detention network."

Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, previously told SBS News there is a lack of information about "what is actually happening, what [are] the dynamics of the outbreak inside the detention facility".

"The public and, in particular, people who are in Villawood need to know, should know and have accurate information about what is happening with the COVID outbreak there," he said.

Principal solicitor from the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, Sarah Dale, told SBS News earlier this month she holds "deep concerns" for those who remain in detention in facilities across the nation.

"They have no ability to protect themselves. They have no way to isolate. And they are left in these precarious situations in detention centres, which only affects their health and their mental health," she said.

NSW's COVID-19 restrictions extended

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced the state will extend its COVID-19 restrictions for another month as the state continues to battle the Omicron wave.

Those restrictions include density limits of one person per two square metres and wearing face masks indoors except at home.

It comes as NSW records 2,943 COVID-19 hospitalisations, up from Monday's figure of 2,816, but a fall in intensive care unit admissions from 196 to 183.

The state reported 18,512 new infections of COVID-19 and 29 deaths, up from 15,091 new cases and 24 deaths on Monday.

Singing and dancing at hospitality venues, nightclubs and entertainment venues continue to be banned, except for at weddings, for performers, instructors and students.

QR codes will continue to be compulsory at certain premises, including hospitality venues and retail shops.

Non-elective surgery will remain paused, with all extended restrictions running until 28 February.

"These measures are proportionate to taking a cautious approach as we move through," Mr Perrottet said.

NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard encouraged those eligible for booster shots to get them as soon as possible.

"We have an obligation to go and get boosters ... look after your mates, go and get boosted and look after those people who might otherwise catch it from you," Mr Hazzard said.

Meanwhile, hospitalisations also rose in Victoria to 1,057. That's compared with 998 hospitalisations reported on Monday.

ICU numbers remain stable, however, with 119 patients in intensive care.

Victoria reported 14,836 new cases of the virus and 29 deaths, two years to the day the first COVID case in Australia was detected in Melbourne.

This is a rise from the 11,695 infections and 17 deaths reported on Monday. 


Another 11 people have died with COVID-19 in Queensland as the state approaches the peak of the current wave with 9,546 new cases.

Tuesday's deaths were people aged between their 50s and 90s, none of whom had received a booster jab.

"I know this is very heartbreaking to families...none of this is easy," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said from Townsville on Tuesday.

The new cases come as the number of virus cases in Queensland's hospitals increased "significantly" to a total of 928.

The figure includes 51 patients in intensive care, 13 of whom are on ventilators.

What's happening elsewhere?

South Australia reported 1,869 new infections on Tuesday, its lowest daily tally this year, along with five more deaths.

Hospital admissions have also dropped slightly to 287 with 32 in intensive care where five people remain on ventilators.

In Tasmania, 643 new cases were reported on Tuesday, a marginal increase on Monday's figure of 619, and one death.

A woman in her 80s has died with COVID-19 in the ACT as 904 new cases were recorded in the territory.

Western Australia has reported 15 new local COVID-19 cases, two infected people have been admitted to hospital and one is in intensive care. 

And in the Northern Territory, 517 new COVID-19 cases have been reported,

About 3,200 cases are currently active in the territory and 72 patients are in hospital with the virus. Ten require oxygen and three are in intensive care.

It comes as Australia marks the two-year anniversary of its first confirmed COVID-19 case - on January 25, 2020 - in a man who flew from China to Melbourne.

The country recorded a cumulative 40,681 new infections and 58 additional deaths on Monday.

But there is optimism daily infection tallies have plateaued, particularly in NSW.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt declared infections had .

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant also expressed optimism the virus spread in that state appeared to be slowing and the situation stabilising.

With AAP.

5 min read
Published 25 January 2022 at 9:06am
By Eden Gillespie
Source: SBS News