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COVID-19 Lockdown Lift Opens Door for Migrants at Greek Borders

Greece could see another incursion of refugees and migrants at is borders when lockdowns aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus are lifted, the European Union’s border patrol Frontex is said to believe.

That could happen once Turkey, holding some 5.5 million refugees and migrants from other countries, allows freer movement, the German newspaper Die Welt said, citing an internal report from the border agency.

The report said that the easing of restrictions in the provinces of Canakkale, Istanbul and Izmir is expected to trigger large movements of migrants toward the Evros border, the newspaper reported without indicating how it obtained it.

If so, that could rekindle attempts by Turkey to again send or let migrants mass at Greece’s northern land border along the Evros River where some 10,000 had gathered in February before Greece shut its side and sent riot police and army units to repeal attempts to cross.

Die Welt quoted the Frontex report as saying that an additional 262 police officers from around Greece have been sent to the Evros region to beef up security at the border.

Greece has also been gearing for Turkey to also let human traffickers send refugees and migrants to five Greek islands near Turkey’s coast. There are some 38,000 in detention centers and camps.

Greece on May 4 began lifting its lockdown gradually as no cases had been reported in the camps and centers despite the overcrowded conditions and lack of sanitary facilities for people massed together.

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