Greek refugee camp quarantined after 20 test COVID-19 positive


    Athens, April 2 (IANS) The Greek government on Thursday quarantined more than 2,000 people in a refugee camp after detecting 20 confirmed coronavirus among its residents.

    Migration Minister Panagiotis Mitarachi said entry or exit from the Ritsona camp site, about 75 km northeast of Athens, will be totally prohibited for the next 14 days, reports Efe news.

    The decision was made after the detection of the first COVID-19 case in the camp, an African woman who had given birth at an Athens hospital.

    Medical teams from Greece’s National Public Health Organisation tested 63 people on Wednesday who had been in contact with the woman and 20 cases were confirmed.

    None of the people had symptoms of the disease, according to authorities.

    Health officials will continue testing on Thursday until they have screened all of the 2,200 people living in containers spread across three sectors of the camp.

    A strong police presence has been deployed to stop people from leaving or entering.

    The camp’s patient zero, who gave birth at Alexandra General Hospital in the capital, was at the clinic waiting to be discharged.

    Her baby has not yet been tested because screening can only be carried out on infants who are at least seven days old, medical staff told public television.

    Humanitarian organisations have warned about the risk of an uncontrolled outbreak in Greece’s refugee camps and have called for the immediate evacuation of shelters like Moria, where more than 20,000 people live in overcrowded conditions.

    The government has said it has allocated spaces in the refugee camps that can be used for quarantine.

    The Migration Ministry reported on Thursday the appearance of a new case among the refugee population in the Kilkis region in the north of the country.

    The patient, a woman living in a social housing apartment, tested positive after being admitted to an obstetrics department of a hospital in the city.

    Greece currently has a total of 1,415 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 51 deaths.