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Greece: Covid-19 Case in Lesbos Spreads Fear Among Migrants

  • A girl and her mother in their tent at the Moria Camp, Lesbos, Greece, March 3, 2020.

    A girl and her mother in their tent at the Moria Camp, Lesbos, Greece, March 3, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 12 March 2020

Over 19,000 refugees are confined to this Greek island in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions.

Greece's health authorities reported a first Covid-19 case on the Lesbos island where thousands of refugees are overcrowded in unsanitary conditions.


Turkey to Keep Its Border Open for Refugees to Go to the EU

The infected patient is a 40-year-old woman who had recently traveled to Israel and Egypt as a member of a pilgrimage group to the Holy Land.

Over the last week, more than 1,700 new ​​​​​​​asylum seekers have arrived on the Aegean islands and most of them landed in Lesbos.

The New York Times revealed that many migrants, who could be deported to Turkey without a fair trial, were housed in warehouses and treated "like animals" by Greek security guards

The situation has become particularly critical since Turkey decided to open its borders with Greece as a pressure mechanism for the European Union (EU) to fully implement the 2016 migration agreement.

Due to the presence of thousands of migrants, Greece and Turkey decided to increase the number of soldiers on duty at their borders.​​​​​​​

On March 9, Greece's Ministry of Health reported 11 new Covid-19 cases and 89 infected people. To halt the outbreak from expanding, authorities decided to ban public meetings for 15 days.

Their concern increased when a coronavirus case was detected in Lesbos where the Moria "reception" center is located.

In this facility, 19,000 asylum seekers are practically detained in a space that was only designed to hold only 3,000 people.

Another factor that increased tensions in Lesbos is the presence of far-right groups that have unleashed a wave of violence against migrants.

They left the Moria camp without food and medical treatment. In addition to this, parts of the facility, including grocery stores and a volunteer school, were burned down.​​​​​​​

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