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Greek island migrant camps’not Ready for COVID-19′: Human Rights Watch

“Even though the Greek government is working to block the spread of this virus, the pictures of these squalid conditions in camps around the islands create clear that it is not complying with minimal protective and preventative measures against COVID-19 there,” Belkis Wille, senior emergency and conflict researcher in Human Rights Watch, stated in a declaration on Wednesday.

The warning comes following the Greek government announced on Tuesday (April 21) which 150 people tested positive in a locked-down migrant resort in the nation’s southwest.

The leased beachfront resort just outside Kranidi, some 170 km south of Athens, was quarantined since 16 April following a worker tested positive. The resort homes 470 asylum-seekers, largely from African nations, including many kids.

The bureau has urged police to avoid stigmatizing migrants throughout the pandemic.

“it’s extremely important for these people for continued support and help,” Gianluca Rocco, IOM Chief of Mission at Greece, stated in a statement.

“Stigmatisation and discrimination against migrants throughout the pandemic aren’t just bad for migrants themselves but also to the society as a whole, and might jeopardize attempts made to stop or mitigate the spreading of this virus”

Overcrowded island camps
A few 100,000 asylum seekers are now stranded in Greece. And while governments have managed to contain the spread of coronavirus from the overall population — with substantially fewer deaths and cases than in other southern European countries such as Italy and Spain — there are worries about outbreaks from the nation’s cramped migrant camps.

No confirmed cases have been identified in such island camps, that are under lockdown because mid-March, but aid workers fear it is only a matter of time until an epidemic comes. Two camps on the mainland have registered cases and been put under quarantine.

Human Rights Watch is urging governments to identify migrants at higher danger from COVID-19, such as elderly individuals and people with underlying health problems, unaccompanied children, individuals with disabilities, pregnant women, and people with teenagers.

The charity claims that they and their families must be provided alternative accommodation such as hotels or flats. It states they ought to have access to water, food, sanitation, healthcare, and other essentials as a way to keep in a safe distance from other families.

Migrants and assist employees in the Greek Coast camps have always described intense overcrowding and dire hygiene requirements.

On Tuesday, Greece’s Minister for Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi explained that 5.3 percent of migrants residing in island camps had been transferred to the mainland because the start of the calendar year, also that those relocations were continuing.

From the end of the week, a second 2,380 asylum seekers will have abandoned the islands to be placed in hotels around the mainland,” he explained.