Migrants arriving on the Greek islands are quarantined to prevent possible infection with COVID-19, 4 May, 2020 | Photo: picture-alliance/P. Giannakouris
Migrants arriving on the Greek islands are quarantined to prevent possible infection with COVID-19, 4 May, 2020 | Photo: picture-alliance/P. Giannakouris

Two migrants who arrived on Greece’s eastern island of Lesbos have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Officials say they have had no contact with migrant camps on the island.

Greek officials said Tuesday they had registered the first cases of coronavirus in two migrants on Lesbos. The migrants were among 70 asylum seekers to arrive from Turkey in two boats on May 6 and May 10. All were placed in a separate quarantine facility with no contact with larger groups of asylum seekers at other facilities on the island.

“There is absolutely no connection between this (quarantine) facility and that of Moria,” a migration ministry source said, referring to the biggest camp on Lesbos where nearly 18,000 people live.

The two asylum seekers who tested positive have not developed symptoms of COVID-19, officials said. Tests are being conducted on the other 68 migrants in the separate facility on Lesbos and among people who came into contact with them, they added.

As of Tuesday, Greece had reported 2,744 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak and 152 deaths. On May 4, the government started easing the lockdowns introduced in mid-March.

Nearly 40,000 people live in camps on Lesbos and other eastern Aegean islands. Human rights groups have repeatedly warned that the overcrowding in the camps could lead to the rapid spread of the disease should it reach the facilities.

The 70 asylum seekers who arrived last week were the first to reach Greece by sea in more than a month.

Protest over asylum delays

Earlier on Tuesday, police in northern Greece arrested 25 people during a protest at a migrant center. The riot damaged several facilities including living quarters made from converted shipping containers. No injuries were reported, according to AP.

The center, which houses 250 asylum seekers, is near Greece's border with Turkey. People who enter Greece irregularly are registered there and temporarily detained until they apply for asylum.

The protest followed long delays in processing asylum claims due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Greek asylum service's operations were suspended amid restrictions on travel and movement imposed by the government in response to the pandemic.

With AP, Reuters

 

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