One of 13 prisoners deported from the UK to Jamaica on Wednesday tested positive for Covid-19, the Jamaican government confirmed.
The man is being held in isolation at a hospital in the capital Kingston. He had been detained in the UK for almost a month prior to his deportation.
From the unit where he is treated, the man told The Guardian: “I don’t know where I got Covid from, but the deportation flight was very full and people were taking off their masks.” Coughing a lot during the call, he added: “I am very angry that the Interior Ministry has not protected me.”
He said they were taking good care of him at the Jamaica facility.
The flight has led to accusations by members of the Windrush generation of deeply insulting behavior on the part of Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Many worries they raised about the Covid risk of chartering a flight to Jamaica during the pandemic.
Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, president of the National Windrush Organization, wrote to the secretary of the interior on November 30 expressing concern about the flight, including the risk of viruses. Ask why such a flight is chartered if there are no commercial flights.
The plane, which was carrying 13 convicted criminals, took off on Wednesday. Twenty-three other prisoners were left out of it after legal challenges.
The man, who has convictions for drug offenses, has been taken under police escort to St Joseph’s Medical Center in Kingston, where he will be quarantined for 14 days. At the moment he does not present any symptoms.
Dozens of public figures, including model Naomi Campbell and actress Thandie Newton, signed an open letter last month asking airlines not to make Wednesday’s flight.
They said the deportation flight carried “risks of illegal and unjust deportations” and urged airlines to boycott it.
Jaddoo said: “This is exactly the point that I raised in letters to Priti Patel and the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness. The Home Office has shown a blatant disregard for due diligence. This raises the problem that the Home Office is rushing to do something without following due process. They should be held accountable. We know for a fact that not everyone on that flight is a murderer or rapist. “
The Interior Ministry has been contacted for comment.
Officials previously told The Guardian when asked about the Covid risk of the Jamaica flight: “Every week we take foreign criminals out of the UK to different countries who have no right to be here, this flight is no different and people are detained by this flight they include murderers and convicted rapists.
“We completely reject claims that this flight is not Covid compliant or represents an exceptional risk: all individuals will be evaluated by a healthcare professional before they leave the immigration removal center, which will include a temperature check, and all will be tested and access to quarantined accommodation upon arrival in Jamaica. “
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