Migration Ministry freezes refugee transfers to Athens square due to Moria COVID spike

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The Migration Ministry will be halting refugee transfers to Greece’s mainland due to the rapidly increasing coronavirus cases within the refugee camps, Katherimini sources claim.

A major testing and contact-tracing operation at Greece’s largest migrant camp on the eastern island of Lesvos has so far detected 35 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among the overcrowded facility’s 12,500 residents, authorities said Tuesday.

The ministry said health teams from the National Organisation of Public Health (EODY) conducted a total of 2,000 tests, of which 100 were done on employees and 1,900 on residents.

Photo: Efsyn

According to the Katherimini sources, authorities are halting transfers from refugee camps to the Greek mainland, aiming to curb the movement of recognised refugees and limit the possibility of further infections.

This, in turn, may help decongest Athens’ central Victoria Square, where many evicted refugees have set up camp.

READ MORE: Moria migrants transferred to Athens construct ‘makeshift camp’ in Victoria Square

Migrants turned Victoria Square into a temporary makeshift camp in June after a government announcement saw hundreds of migrants be transferred to Athens.

The problem was broached during an Athens City council meeting with officials underlining the need for authorities to offer food and shelter to the refugees. Nasos Iliopoulos, a leftist SYRIZA official and head of the Anoixti Poli (Open City) movement, on Monday visited the square.

“Local residents and businesses can see that the situation taking shape is reprehensible both for the homeless refugees as it is for the quality of life in their neighbourhood, which is only just starting to recover after a series of crises,” Anoixti Poli said.

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