Greece: Another camp quarantined after migrant tests positive for coronavirus

Greek authorities have placed another migrant camp on its mainland in “full sanitary isolation” after a 53-year-old Afghan migrant tested positive for the coronavirus disease. The infected migrant lives with his family in the Malakasa camp near Athens in which some 1,800 other migrants live. 

The Malakasa camp is the second camp to be placed on lockdown in Greece after the Ritsona camp was quarantined last week. The lockdown followed the confirmation of 20 cases of coronavirus among residents. 

More than 110,000 migrants live in squalid camps across Greece, with around 40,000 of them living on five Greek islands. Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi asserts “we have an emergency plan in place … But it is more difficult to implement it on the islands.”

EU officials and aid groups have called on the Greek authorities to transfer migrants from the islands to the mainland because the island camps are “an ideal breeding ground” for the coronavirus.

“Restricting thousands of women, men and children in severely overcrowded camps, where living conditions are unacceptable, makes it impossible to isolate people exposed to COVID-19 or to comply with minimum preventive and protective measures, even hand washing and social-distancing,” said Eva Cosse, Greek researcher at Human Rights Watch.


TMP _ 15/4/2020

Photo credit: Giannis Papanikos
Idomeni, Greece – January 15, 2016. Refugees stand at the entrance of a large tent at the makeshift refugee camp of Idomeni at the Greek Macedonian border.