A coronavirus lockdown imposed since March on refugee camps in Greece has now been extended to May 21, the Migration and Asylum Ministry of Greece said in a statement on Sunday.
“The coronavirus measures of confinement for those living in refugee camps and in reception centres in Greece are prolonged until May 21,” the statement reads.
The ministry did not say why the camp lockdown was being extended.
Until now, there have been no coronavirus cases in the Aegean island camps, according to authorities.
On the mainland, however, two camps and a hotel accommodating refugees were locked down in April after positive coronavirus tests were returned.
The decision to extend the lockdown comes in the face of the Greek government promising to transfer 2,000 refugees from the islands to the mainland in order to ease the pressure on camps there.
Rights groups say this is not enough to produce a real improvement in conditions, especially given the dangers from the coronavirus pandemic.
They also fear that refugee rights are being eroded by the measures taken to curb the spread of coronavirus, but officials insist that Athens will continue to respect its international obligations.