Food riddled with maggots, Covid epidemics and refugees: the hotel where Novak Djokovic is being held

Novak Djokovic has been ordered to self-isolate in a refugee detention hotel until a court rules on his deportation on Monday morning.

The Park Hotel in Melbourne is known as an ‘alternative place of detention’ by the Australian government and will house the world’s No. 1 alongside asylum seekers after her visa application was denied by border forces.

The hotel has been the subject of protests against the treatment of refugees, after reports of food riddled with maggots, Covid outbreaks and fires in recent months.

Djokovic has reportedly already asked to move to a rented apartment where his team is staying after finding “bugs” in his hotel room, and his wallet and personal effects are still at the airport, SportKlub reporter Sasa Osmo reported.

Around 32 refugees and asylum seekers are being held at the hotel alongside the tennis star after being brought in for medical treatment in offshore detention centers.

Novak Djokovic stays at the Park Hotel in Melbourne, known as an ‘alternative place of detention’ by the Australian government

The hotel (pictured) has been the subject of protests against the treatment of refugees, after reports of food riddled with maggots, Covid outbreaks and fires in recent months

The hotel (pictured) has been the subject of protests against the treatment of refugees, after reports of food riddled with maggots, Covid outbreaks and fires in recent months

Photos shared by horrified inmates at hotel showed maggots and mold in food provided

Photos shared by horrified inmates at hotel showed maggots and mold in food provided

Photos shared by horrified inmates at hotel showed maggots and mold in food provided

Djokovic was ordered to self-isolate in a refugee detention hotel until a court rules on his deportation on Monday morning

Djokovic was ordered to self-isolate in a refugee detention hotel until a court rules on his deportation on Monday morning

Prisoners cannot leave the hotel and no one is allowed in or out, except the staff.

Although the hotel does not currently accept reservations and it is not clear what the current price for a room is, one guest said he paid £ 55 for a room in 2017.

According to the website, amenities include a “fitness area,” but no tennis court for the star to train on.

It has been in use as a government detention hotel since December 2020, with staff and guests previously calling it an ‘incubator’ for Covid.

Anti-vaxx Djokovic, who has refused to reveal how many, if any, Covid hits he has received, will have to stay in his room where windows are sealed and air is circulated through air conditioners.

In October, nearly half of those held at the hotel tested positive for the Delta strain, and a man was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Currently, around 32 refugees and asylum seekers are held there, some waving to Djokovic fans from their windows today (pictured)

Currently, around 32 refugees and asylum seekers are held there, some waving to Djokovic fans from their windows today (pictured)

In October, nearly half of those held at the hotel tested positive for the Delta strain, and a man was taken to hospital by ambulance.

In October, nearly half of those held at the hotel tested positive for the Delta strain, and a man was taken to hospital by ambulance.

It has been in use as a government detention hotel since December 2020, with staff and guests previously calling it an 'incubator' for Covid

It has been in use as a government detention hotel since December 2020, with staff and guests previously calling it an ‘incubator’ for Covid

Refugees are forced to share a common kitchen and an elevator if they travel between floors.

People who test positive are moved to the first floor, but this can happen days after testing, sources told The Guardian.

Salah Mustafa, who was detained at the hotel, said: “I am sitting in the room and I’m scared. We are all scared.

“Today I am negative, my son is negative. But tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, so what? Everywhere is infection.

‘We are trapped here. We’re stuck in our rooms, waiting [for] this virus coming.

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said he was “very concerned” about the situation at the hotel, while Melbourne’s Asylum Seeker Resource Center described the latest outbreak as a “preventable disaster”.

Activists called for the release of refugees from the

Activists have called for the release of refugees from “park prison” and the hotel has been the scene of regular protests

Supporters gather outside the Park Hotel where Novak Djokovic was taken pending his deportation from the country

Supporters gather outside the Park Hotel where Novak Djokovic was taken pending his deportation from the country

This van, surrounded by workers wearing PPE in the parking lot of a Melbourne hotel, is said to contain tennis star Djokovic

This van, surrounded by workers wearing PPE in the parking lot of a Melbourne hotel, is said to contain tennis star Djokovic

Last month, guests complained about food given to inmates that contained maggots and mold.

Salah told SBS News, “I was just shocked. The food they deliver puts people at risk.

“Even an animal cannot eat this type of food. “

Another asylum seeker said he vomited after eating the food provided by the hotel.

Two days before Christmas, two fires broke out on different floors, fearing that inmates would be kept inside the smoky building.

One of the fires reportedly started in a bedroom and it is not known how either of the fires started, a spokesperson for Fire Rescue Victoria said.

Novak Djokovic, pictured at border forces in Melbourne after his flight landed on Wednesday, will have to remain isolated in a refugee detention hotel until Monday after a court adjourned his appeal to stay in the country

Novak Djokovic, pictured at border forces in Melbourne after his flight landed on Wednesday, will have to remain isolated in a refugee detention hotel until Monday after a court adjourned his appeal to stay in the country

Djokovic supporters arrived at the Park Hotel, decked out in Serbian flags and holding up homemade anti-vaxx signs

Djokovic supporters arrived at the Park Hotel, decked out in Serbian flags and holding up homemade anti-vaxx signs

Djokovic supporters arrived at the Park Hotel, decked out in Serbian flags and holding up homemade anti-vaxx signs

Eyewitnesses at the scene reported that none of the men detained at the hotel had been evacuated or allowed out for fresh air.

A man claiming to be detained in the building took to social media to complain that the group was being kept inside the smoky building.

“Some people can’t breathe and they keep us on the first floor of the hotel where we don’t have access to fresh air,” Mehdi Alli tweeted.

“Everything is so chaotic and I can’t breathe right now.”

Activists demand the release of the refugees from the “park prison” and the hotel is regularly the scene of demonstrations.

These escalated after Djokovic’s arrival, but instead of the usual protesters, fans draped in Serbian flags and anti-vaccines descended on the Melbourne hotel.

A group of Serbian supporters showed up in front of the refugee detention hotel to support the locked-in tennis star who must self-isolate until Monday

A group of Serbian supporters showed up in front of the refugee detention hotel to support the locked-in tennis star who must self-isolate until Monday

Authorities have ordered Djokovic to stay there until Monday, when a court decides whether he is allowed to stay in Australia for the Open or whether he will be deported.

The Serb, who was detained at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport overnight, was refused entry after initially saying he was granted medical exemption to play at the Australian Open.

The 34-year-old announced on Tuesday that he had obtained the exemption, given at face value, by two independent medical panels organized by Tennis Australia and the State of Victoria, which he said would protect him from the rules the country’s strict vaccine requirements.

But when the Serb disembarked in Melbourne on Wednesday, border forces did not accept the exemption and said his visa was invalid, issuing a statement saying Djokovic had not met the entry requirements.

He then received a letter saying his visa had been denied and that he would be deported amid the feud between the state of Victoria and the Australian government.



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