Asylum seekers should be moved back on Bibby Stockholm despite row over Legionella, says health secretary

Asylum seekers should still be put back on the Bibby Stockholm barge despite the row caused by the discovery of Legionella, the health secretary has said.

Legionella bacteria can cause a potentially deadly lung infection known as Legionnaires’ disease. It is contracted by people breathing in droplets of water containing the bacteria.

None of the migrants on the barge have shown any symptoms of the disease, according to the Home Office.

Asylum seekers were removed from the barge on Friday after Legionella bacteria was found in the vessel’s water system.

It later emerged that people spent four days on board the barge before they were removed by the Home Office as a “precautionary measure” – prompting a blame game about what the government knew and when.

Asked whether people should be put back on the Bibby Stockholm, Mr Barclay told Sky News: “Yes, I do, because it’s costing around £6m a day in terms of the cost of hotels.

“It’s important that we both maintain safety standards, but also reflect the pressure on the taxpayer position in terms of that £6m.”.

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