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Refugees at Lesbos in danger of coronavirus pandemic as two more test positive Open in fullscreen

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Refugees at Lesbos in danger of coronavirus pandemic as two more test positive

Lesbos is full of refugees [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 May, 2020

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Refugee camps in Greece are facing a coronavirus spread as people continue to test positive for the virus.
Coronavirus is spreading in Lesbos, the site of the country’s biggest migrant camps, with two asylum seekers having tested positive for the virus.

The cases have doubled the island’s Coronavirus infection numbers to a total of four, and they arrived among 70 other migrants during May, migration ministry sources told Reuters.

Tens of thousands are languishing in camps, and since 1 March, those who reach Lesbos are quarantined away from the island’s camps in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Moria facility, infamous for its overcrowded conditions, is hosting more than 17,500 asylum seekers and refugees according to official figures, though there have not been any reported cases of coronavirus there.

Lesbos lies just off the Turkish coast, and hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees have used the island as a staging post in recent years in their attempt to get to mainland Europe.

In March 2016 an EU-brokered accord with Turkey all but halted the migrant flow. However this increased the number of people stuck on Greece’s islands whilst their asylum claims were processed.

Border tension

Police in northern Greece arrested 25 people on Tuesday during a protest at a migrant processing centre that damaged converted shipping containers used as living quarters and other facilities, but caused no reported injuries.

Authorities said officers intervened to stop several hours of rioting at the centre, located near Greece's border with Turkey. People who enter Greece illegally are registered there and temporarily detained until they apply for asylum.

The protest occurred following weeks of delays in processing asylum claims due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The centre currently houses 250 asylum-seekers, including unaccompanied minors, the Evros Police Department said
The Greek asylum service's operations have been scaled back, like many public services, amid restrictions on travel and movement the government set in response to the pandemic.

Greece is struggling to cope with illegal immigration from Turkey, both at the land border and on the Greek islands, that spiked before the country's virus outbreak.


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