Amidst a surge in cases across the country, several migrants and asylum seekers held in Chios’ Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) are reported to have tested positive for COVID-19. (The exact number remains unclear: while Greek media referred to two positive cases confirmed in Chios hospital, InfoMigrants cited reports of “at least 30” confirmed cases.) Access to medical treatment and testing has been described as “inadequate,” due to a lack of funding from the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum.
On Wednesday 14 October, the Greek Migration Ministry announced that the camp would be placed under quarantine until at least 21 October, and that “extensive health checks” would be carried out. On 22 October, this quarantine was extended to 4 November. In its statement, the ministry also announced plans to transfer all pregnant women (five months pregnant and beyond) from the facility to mainland Greece (near to hospitals that are treating COVID-19 patients), “so that no deliveries take place at the General Hospital of Chios “Skylitsio.”” The camp was previously placed under quarantine restrictions in August, after four non-nationals and one employee tested positive.
On Lesvos island, frustrations have been growing regarding government plans to close Pikpa Camp, an “open, community-run space” where significant numbers of vulnerable asylum seekers are living. The camp was due to be closed by 15 October, but this was given a last-minute postponement. The European Court of Human Rights has called on the Greek government to respond to questions regarding plans to close the camp, and the situation of an asylum seeker and her new-born child (represented by the Greek Council for Refugees) who applied for interim measures before the court.
- Global Detention Project, “Chios VIAL Reception and Identification Centre,” https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/greece/detention-centres/167/chios-vial-reception-and-identification-centre
- Ministry of Migration, “Έκτακτα μέτρα υγειονομικής προστασίας του ΚΥΤ της ΒΙΑΛ Χίου,” 14 October 2020, https://migration.gov.gr/ektakta-metra-ygeionomikis-prostasias-toy-kyt-tis-vial-chioy/
- Astaparis, “Στο έλεος του κορονοϊού η ΒΙΑΛ, θετικές δύο έγκυες, συναγερμός στο νοσοκομείο,” 14 October 2020, https://astraparis.gr/sto-eleos-toy-koronoioy-i-vial-thetikes-dyo-egkyes-synagermos-sto-nosokomeio/
- E. Wallis, “Chios Camp in Quarantine After at Least 30 Test Positive for COVID-19,” InfoMigrants, 15 October 2020, https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/27938/chios-camp-in-quarantine-after-at-least-30-test-positive-for-covid-19
- ANA-MPA News, “Three Asylum Seekers Found Positive with Coronavirus on Chios,” 18 August 2020, https://www.amna.gr/en/article/481395/Three-asylum-seekers-found-positive-with-coronavirus-on-Chios
- Ekathimerini, “Chios Migrant Camp Quarantine Extended,” 22 October 2020, https://www.ekathimerini.com/258382/article/ekathimerini/news/chios-migrant-camp-quarantine-extended
- RTE, “Greek Refugee Camps Threatened with Closure,” 21 October 2020, https://www.rte.ie/news/world/2020/1016/1172048-greece-refugee-camp/
- Greek Council for Refugees, “Το Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο Δικαιωμάτων του Ανθρώπου ερωτά την ελληνική κυβέρνηση για την επικείμενη εκκένωση του «ΠΙΚΠΑ» Λέσβου,” 19 October 2020, https://bit.ly/3oli1sU
- Vial Migrant Camp on the Greek Island of Chios, (L. Partsalis, Picture Alliance, “Chios Camp in Quarantine After at Least 30 Test Positive for COVID-19,” Infomigrants, 15 October 2020, https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/27938/chios-camp-in-quarantine-after-at-least-30-test-positive-for-covid-19)