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Greece seals off migrant camp hit by scores of coronavirus cases Open in fullscreen

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Greece seals off migrant camp hit by scores of coronavirus cases

Ritsona camp houses many migrants moved from overcrowded island camps [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 April, 2020

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Ritsona camp near Athens in being placed under a two-week 'sanitary isolation' after dozens of its residents tested positive for coronavirus without showing symptoms.
Greece on Thursday sealed off a migrant camp near Athens after 21 of its residents tested positive for the coronavirus - beginning with a new mother at an Athens hospital.

"From today the facility is placed under sanitary isolation for two weeks," the migration ministry said in a statement.

The woman, reportedly from Africa, tested positive after giving birth at an Athens hospital this week.

The ministry said that of 63 people subsequently tested at the Ritsona camp, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Athens, 20 were positive but without symptoms.

No staff were found to be carrying the virus, it said.

Read more: Coronavirus could spread faster in crowded refugee camps than it has on cruise ships, warns NGO

The new mother's case was the first among asylum-seekers living in a Greek camp. The state has run several vaccination campaigns in past years, but no screening has been done for the present virus.

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All access to the camp has been restricted and food will be delivered to the residents, the ministry said. Additional medical staff will be sent to the area and all residents will be screened, it added.

As of 1600 GMT on Wednesday, Greece's population of 11 million had recorded 50 deaths and 1,415 cases of novel coronavirus.

In camps on the Greek mainland and islands, where tens of thousands of asylum seekers live in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, regulations have been announced to keep residents as far from the local population as possible.

The migration ministry on Thursday said that another asylum-seeker living in a flat in the northern city of Kilkis had tested positive after giving birth at a local clinic. 

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