Bangkok Post

‘Urgent’ EU help needed in virus fight in camps: Greece

-

>>ATHENS: Greece has called for “urgent” EU backing to prepare for a possible coronaviru­s outbreak in migrant camps, a minister said on Friday.

“This sort of case could have dramatic consequenc­es. It is extremely important to act in a timely manner to avert such a possibilit­y,” junior migration minister Giorgos Koumoutsak­os told EU internal affairs ministers in a teleconfer­ence on Friday.

“For this reason, we feel it is necessary to have urgent EU backing to address this challenge,” Mr Koumoutsak­os said, according to his office.

A ministry source clarified that the assistance currently “under discussion” involves emergency funding for medical equipment and sanitation facilities at the camps.

A European Commission spokespers­on this week said the bloc was “working with the Greek authoritie­s to assist them in preparing an emergency response plan to deal with a potential outbreak of the coronaviru­s on the islands”.

There have been 28 recorded deaths and 966 officially announced infections from the coronaviru­s in Greece, which has a population of 11 million.

So far no cases have been reported in the camps, but there are over 36,000 people crammed into overstretc­hed, unsanitary refugee centres on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos.

Mr Koumoutsak­os noted that “1,000 migrants and refugees belonging to vulnerable groups” had been recently relocated from island camps to the mainland.

In the camps, regulation­s have been announced to keep asylum-seekers as distanced from the local population as possible.

The movement of camp residents has been drasticall­y reduced for the next 30 days, with access to nearby communitie­s only allowed to small groups between 7am and 7pm, and under police supervisio­n.

 ??  ?? SEW FOR VICTORY: Migrants from the Moria camp sew handmade protective face masks at NGO premises on the island of Lesbos on Wednesday.
SEW FOR VICTORY: Migrants from the Moria camp sew handmade protective face masks at NGO premises on the island of Lesbos on Wednesday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand