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Covid-19 confirmed among refugees in Lesvos

In response to Covid-19 being confirmed among refugees in Lesvos, Dimitra Kalogeropoulou, IRC Greece Director, said:

“Thanks to random testing carried out by the National Public Health Organisation (EODY) in the quarantine area at the north of Lesvos, two new arrivals on the island were confirmed to have the virus before they reached Moria, avoiding putting the 18,000 people who live there in danger. 

“Tens of thousands of people across the Greek islands are at risk of exposure to the virus, including older people, people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Refugees living in camps have limited ways of protecting themselves from the coronavirus; if it does reach the camps, the severe overcrowding and absence of proper sanitation mean that it will spread rapidly. 

"It is essential that the camps are decongested, those most at risk are evacuated and sanitation facilities cover needs. While we welcome the transfers out of Moria that have already happened, quarantine areas should be set up on all islands, as well as health structures for both refugees and locals, to protect everyone from Covid19. 

"Covid19 does not discriminate and neither should the state.

“While Greece is emerging from lockdown, and people are able to go to the supermarket, meet with friends and go outside, the same freedoms have not been afforded to refugees. This has left thousands of people unable to go out to get medical supplies or other essential items. More needs to be done to ensure that all refugees living on the islands have access to the same measures of protection and medical assistance that Greek people do.”

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.