First COVID-19 Cases Found in Refugee Camp On Chios Island

Refugee and migrant detention centers and camps on five Greek islands holding more than 34,000 people have largely been spared outbreaks of COVID-19 during the pandemic despite overcrowded conditions but the facility on Chios was locked down until Aug. 25 after infections were found in a 35-year-old man from Yemen and worker.

The shutdown was ordered by the Migration and the Citizens’ Protection ministries in coordination with the National Organization of Public Health (EODY) as cases have spiked across the country again because of non-compliance with health protocols, partying closely and tourists bringing cases.

A delegation of EODY officials went to the camp Aug. 13 to conduct inspections on other residents and people who have been in contact with the employee said Kathimerini, as worries about a bigger spread are rising too in the country.

The man from Yemem arrived on the island in September, 2019 and was hospitalized with mild symptoms while 20 other detainees were quarantined away from others after the worker tested positive.

Dozens of cases have been reported in the camps on five islands near Turkey which lets human traffickers keep sending refugees and migrants who had gone to that country first fleeing war and strife in their homelands.

That violates a technically-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union which closed its borders to them, dumping the problem on Greece during an economic and austerity crisis and now the pandemic as well.

On Chios, some 3,800 people live in a facility designed for only one-third that number, making safe social distancing essentially impossible nor was it said if they are wearing masks and following other health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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