Greek migrant camp quarantined after 23 migrants test positive for coronavirus

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Greece has quarantined Ritsona migrant camp for two weeks after 23 of its residents tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Greek Ministry of Migration announced on Thursday that movement from the Ritsona camp will be heavily restricted and monitored by police, as more of the 2,500 residents of the camp are tested in the coming days.

Dozens of people in the camp were initially tested after a 19-year-old female living in the camp was found infected after giving birth at an Athens hospital last week. She was the first recorded case of a migrant contracting COVID-19.

All of those who tested positive showed no symptoms, the Ministry said.

The Ritsona migrant camp, north of Athens, has been placed under ‘sanitary isolation’ for two weeks. Source: Reuters.

The latest developments come amid increasing calls from medical NGOs and human rights groups for the evacuation of Greece’s overcrowded refugee camps during the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 40,000 people are hosted in the Greek islands’ camps, while the island of Lesbos alone accommodates more than 20,000 people in a space designed for about 3,000.

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that the spread of the virus to less organised refugee camps ‘‘may result in a massive humanitarian crisis.’’

‘‘This is a danger, both for refugees hosted in third countries outside the EU and for those living in unbearable conditions on the Greek islands,’’ she stated.

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