ATHENS — Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi visited the asylum service on Thursday, where crowds of asylum seekers continue to congregate each day, to check if there is full compliance with the measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The number of asylum seekers gathered outside the agency was again high and Mitarachi noted in statements that "over 100,000 asylum seekers are currently in Greece, something that puts pressure on a service with only a few hundred employees. [The staff] are trying to cope with this high volume of applications and renewals and they are doing it in the best possible way."
According to the minister, eight out of 10 of the asylum seekers waiting outside the agency building did not need to be there and could conduct their transactions online.
He explained that residence permits have been extended, the asylum seekers' health card is now available on the internet and many of the necessary changes they want to carry out can be done electonically.
However, he admitted that "it is a little difficult to explain to all these people that the procedures are now digital. Despite the continuous efforts to inform the asylum seekers, they feel insecure and want to come here personally and provide information that is already available on the internet".
Finally, he underlined that all the protection measures inside and outside the asylum agency are being followed and the police presence has been increased as of Thursday morning.