Coronavirus, Policing Have Reduced Migrant Flow Into Greece to a Trickle

The number of migrants crossing into Greece from Turkey was greatly reduced in the months of April and May due to the coronavirus scare and the increased police measures imposed along the country’s land and sea borders.

According to government figures released on Sunday, there was a drop of 97.26 percent in April 2020 compared to April 2019, and a drop of 91 percent this May, relative to last year.

A total of 2,773 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece in April 2019, compared to only 76 in April of 2020. In May of 2019, 3,141 such individuals arrived in Greece, compared to just 204 in May, 2020.

Government sources, speaking to AMNA, added that the number of residents in reception centers had dropped by 15 percent from the beginning of the year to the present, with 13,000 individuals transferred from the islands to the mainland as of January 1.

“Today, on the five islands, there are 36,276 migrants and refugees, compared to 42,000 early in January,” the sources stated, referring to the islands with the highest numbers of migrants (Chios, Kos, Leros, Lesvos and Samos).

However, the number of refugee status applications has accelerated recently, according to sources. From nearly 4,000 decisions issued on average in 2019, there were up to 7,000 such cases in March of 2020 and 16,000 in April of this year.