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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Over 240 refugees at new Greek camp have coronavirus

Thousands of refugees have taken shelter at a temporary camp after the Moria fire [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 September, 2020

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Greek health authorities have announced that over 240 people at a temporary camp for refugees, built after a fire destroyed the notorious Moria camp, are infected with coronavirus

More than 240 refugees at a new temporary camp on the island of Lesbos are infected with the novel coronavirus, the Greek public health agency said on Monday.

"243 new infections have been discovered" among 7,000 asylum seekers tested, the EODY agency said in a statement.

It added that further tests on 120 police and 40 staff at the camp, which was hastily built last week after the notorious Moria refugee camp was destroyed by fire, had come back negative.

Over 12,000 refugees including elderly and newborns were left sleeping alongside roads, parking lots and even at the local cemetery when the Moria camp burned down on September 8.

Six young Afghans face arson charges over the incident.

It took over a week for most of the refugees to be rehoused in the new tent camp hurriedly built on a disused army firing range a few kilometres away.

Read more: Moria camp tragedy is a wake-up call for Europe's failed migration policy

Many refugees were wary of being locked up again after spending months at the notoriously overcrowded and unsanitary Moria camp, where traumatized refugees from conflict zones in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Africa were denied basic healthcare and services by the Greek government.

Since March, movement restrictions at Moria were even more stringent because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Several asylum seekers have now complained that the tents lack even basic bedding and that sanitation is rudimentary.

Another three refugee minors were arrested over a fire that broke out in the asylum seeker camp of Samos island on Sunday, officials said.

Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi on Monday told parliament that those responsible for the fire would "serve their sentence in Greece and will then be deported."

Mitarachi said a "modern, safe and respectable" new camp will be constructed on Lesbos - even though local officials strongly oppose the move, demanding the immediate removal of most refugees.

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