A refugee in immigration detention is launching a court challenge against the Morrison government over its handling of the coronavirus.
The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, will argue the government is breaching its duty of care by failing to provide safe conditions during the pandemic.
He is concerned people are eating in crowded food halls, sharing bathrooms and sleeping in rooms with up to six people.
The man, who has asthma, a heart condition and diabetes, fears he is at increased risk of serious illness or death if an outbreak occurs.
Infectious disease experts have called for detainees to be transferred to alternative accommodation during the pandemic, likening their living conditions to contaminated cruise ships.
Human rights organisations have warned the case may be the first of many brought by people in immigration detention.
They are also calling for the immediate release of people in detention to help with the spread of the virus.
The Department of Home Affairs says no immigration detainees have tested positive for coronavirus.
"Infection control plans are in place and plans to manage suspected cases of COVID-19 have been developed and tested," a spokesman told AAP.
"Detainees displaying any COVID-19 symptoms will be tested and quarantined in line with advice from health officials and in accordance with the broader Commonwealth response."
Human Rights Law Centre legal director David Burke says Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has a legal duty to protect people in the government's care.
"Instead, he is choosing to hold men and women in crammed detention centres that make it impossible to practice physical distancing," Mr Burke said on Wednesday.
"He can avoid placing lives at risk by simply releasing people into safe housing where they can socially isolate."
The home affairs minister and his department, along with the acting immigration minister, have been contacted for comment.
Labor's immigration spokesman Andrew Giles wrote to his counterpart several weeks ago to raise concerns about people in detention.
Mr Giles asked whether consideration was being given to community detention.
He is yet to receive a response.
"Everyone's safety matters. That's why I wrote to Alan Tudge seeking his assurances on managing the wellbeing of people in immigration facilities," Mr Giles said on Wednesday.
"Following medical warnings, the Morrison government must guarantee the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people in our care."
Australian Associated Press
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