A UNHCR team has traveled to the Greek border to advise migrants and authorities on the prevention of the new coronavirus. No cases have been reported among migrants in Greece, but there are concerns it could spread fast in centers and camps.
A team from UNHCR has visited the Greek border to offer advice to migrants about hygiene and preventing the spread of the new coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Worldwide, more than 100,000 people have become infected by the virus. On Monday, Greece had 73 confirmed cases of infection but no fatalities. No cases have yet been reported in Greek migrant centers.
UNHCR official Margaritis Petritzikis said on Sunday that his agency is trying to provide information sessions to newly-arrived migrants in Greece about the basic principles of hygiene personal prevention."
The UNHCR is also trying to provide more information to Greek authorities, "especially in reception notification centers, through the medical teams based there … especially for the prevention of the transmission of cases," Petritzikis added. "At the moment there are no identified patients," he said.
The head of the Greek Medical Association, Athanosios Exadaktylos, praised the country’s health system for "excellent work as it tries to respond to this internal threat of the virus, which is asymptomatic."
The Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced late February that he would tighten border controls to prevent the spread of coronavirus, focusing on island routes used by migrants to enter the country.
Thousands of migrants are living in and around overcrowded camps in squalid conditions the Greek government has referred to as "a ticking time bomb."
On three of the Aegean islands, new detention centers are being built to replace the camps. "Our islands, which already face public health problems, must be doubly protected. To put it simply, we must do whatever we can to prevent the coronavirus appearing, especially [on the islands]," Mitsotakis said.
With Reuters, AP
•••• ➤ For up-to-date information on ways to protect yourself against coronaviruses COVID-19, visit the World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses