Greek Camp on Lockdown After 20 Migrants Diagnosed with Coronavirus



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A migrant camp near the town of Ritsona, north of Athens, has been put under quarantine for 14 days, starting on Thursday, after health authorities discovered at least 20 infections from coronavirus there.

Medical tests were carried out on dozens of migrants after an asylum seeker who had been living in a camp tested positive for the virus after giving birth at a clinic. She had the first recorded case of the coronavirus among an estimated 60,000 refugees and migrants currently living in camps in Greece.

Six people have also tested positive for the coronavirus on the island of Lesvos, home to the 20,000-inhabitant Moria camp, which many say is particularly ill-equipped to handle an outbreak.

Residents have been ordered not to leave the camp, even to collect their monthly stipend in the nearby town, as police step up patrols on the roads nearby.

Greek authorities have placed special out-patient infirmaries aimed at the early detection of possible coronavirus cases near some migrant camps, including Moria, Chios and Samos. Additional facilities are scheduled to be constructed near migrant camps in mainland Greece.

The groups Human Rights Watch and MSF are calling for the immediate evacuation of overcrowded migrant and refugee camps on the Greek islands. Sea Watch, a search and rescue group, has proposed that decommissioned cruise ships could house those who have been evacuated.

The European Commission says the risk of a coronavirus outbreak in the migrant camps is “of concern to us and to the Greek authorities” and is seeking to speed up the transfer of people from the Greek islands — where some 41,000 live in camps — to the mainland.