Greek authorities reported the first confirmed Covid-19 case in Lesvos’ overcrowded Moria Camp. In response, the country’s ministries for asylum, health, and civil protection announced in a joint statement that the camp would be closed for 14 days, and that authorities were actively tracing and testing all persons who had come into contact with the individual. Until 15 September, only security personnel would be permitted to enter the camp, and the police presence surrounding the facility would be stepped up to ensure that lockdown is not breached. Although the camp has capacity for less than 3,000 persons, it currently accommodates some 13,000 migrants and asylum seekers.
According to the Migration Ministry, the individual–a 40-year-old refugee from Somalia–had left the camp on 17 July 2020 after his application for asylum was approved. However, he had reportedly returned at the end of August having failed to settle in Athens and had been living in a tent outside the facility. This, the migration authority stressed, underscored the need for authorities to move forward with proposed plans to enforce stricter controls on the camp.
Although the camp has been placed under quarantine for two weeks, residents in the camp have essentially been in lockdown since the start of the pandemic (see 4 July and 18 June updates on this platform). Residents have only been permitted to leave at certain times of day to see a doctor or to buy food, and only 150 persons have been permitted to exit the camp per hour.
- T. Georgiopoulou, “Concern After First Covid Case at Moria Migrant Camp,” Ekathimerini, 3 September 2020, https://www.ekathimerini.com/256512/article/ekathimerini/news/concern-after-first-covid-case-at-moriamigrant-camp
- DW, “Greece Reports First Coronavirus Case in Moria Migrant Camp on Lesbos,” 2 September 2020, https://www.dw.com/en/greece-reports-first-coronavirus-case-in-moria-migrant-camp-on-lesbos/a-54792666
- InfoMigrants, “Greece: First Covid-19 Case at Moria Migrant Camp,” 2 September 2020, https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/27000/greece-first-covid-19-case-at-moria-migrant-camp
- Global Detention Project, “Immigration Detention in Greece – 2019 Update,” September 2019, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/greece#country-report
- Ministry of Migration and Asylum, “Positive Case of Coronavirus in KYT Moria – Sanitary Exclusion of the Structure,” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/moria-refugee-camp-quarantine-coronavirus-case-200902120237795.html
- Sanitary Facilities at the Moria Camp, (T. Georgiopoulou, “Concern After First Covid Case at Moria Migrant Camp,” Ekathimerini, 3 September 2020, https://www.ekathimerini.com/256512/article/ekathimerini/news/concern-after-first-covid-case-at-moriamigrant-camp)