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Politics

Greek President Wants EU Border Patrol Help With Refugees, Migrants

ATHENS – Pushing the New Democracy government , Greek President  Katerina Sakellaropoulou called for transfer of more refugees and migrants from island camps and centers to the mainland and for more help from the European Union.

Relocations had already been going on slowly during the COVID-19 pandemic to lessen congestion at the detention areas on five islands holding more than 34,000 people in what human rights groups said were inhumane conditions.

Human traffickers that Turkey lets operate during an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the EU had taken them to Greek islands, although the numbers fell dramatically because of the Coronavirus.

Sakellaropoulou became the latest in a line of politicians, celebrities, diplomats and even the Pope to visit the notorious Moria camp on Lesbos, which the BBC called “the worst in the world,” with little being done about it once the photo opportunities were over.

Sakellaropoulou, who was made an honorary resident of western Lesbos, said she had  understanding for the “concern and fatigue” of the local community as well, where compassion fatigue has set in after more than five years of dealing with the hordes.

“You have been through a lot, and you have contributed a lot,” she said but didn't say if she would speak to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who appointed her, to speed the transfers and help the islands.

She said the EU, which closed its borders to the refugees and migrants – other countries then reneged on promises to help take some of the overload – must step up because Greece's borders “are also European borders.”

She didn't say why she doesn't call the EU's migration chief, New Democracy's Margaritis Schinas, to do more. His predecessor, Dimitris Avramopoulos, also is from the ruling Conservatives but did little to help. 

The EU's border patrol Frontex has been active on Greece's land borders and in the Aegean but, like Greece's Coast Guard, has been unable to keep refugees and migrants from reaching Greek islands.

If Trials Succeed, Greece Will Get 3 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

TNH Staff

As scientists around the world have scrambled to find a vaccine for COVID-19, Greece is set to get three million doses of a formula developed by the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca if it passes a clinical trial.

Health minister Vassilis Kikilias said trials by the United Kingdom company have reached a third phase and a fourth is needed to see if the vaccine is effective and safe, with research and development on an unparalleled scale.

“At the end of December, January, February, March, May and June, if all goes well, Greece will receive in seven partial deliveries its allocation from the agreed vaccine,” he told broadcaster SKAI.

“We will start with 700,000 doses in December which will be a single or double dose, and around 3 million doses in total,” he added. He didn't say how it would be determined who has priority for the shots in a country of 11 million people.

The shot, called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is a recombinant viral vector vaccine developed by Oxford University. It was licensed to AstraZeneca in April.

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