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GREEK NEWS

243 Migrants at Kara Tepe Camp Test Positive for Coronavirus

Migrants at the Kara Tepe camp on Lesvos. Credit: Greek government

After testing all of the thousands of migrants who have now been resettled at the new Kara Tepe camp on Lesvos after being burned out of their former shelter at Moria, 243 of them have been found positive for the coronavirus.

Stelios Petsas, the spokesman for the Greek government, said at his regular press briefing on Monday morning that all 7,064 individuals who had been allowed to resettle at the new camp had been duly tested for the virus.

The age of those who tested positive skewed very young, with their average being only 24; however, most were asymptomatic. Petsas noted that these individuals would show up as part of the number of positive cases around the nation which are announced every evening.

One hundred and sixty police officers and other auxiliary staff of the camp who had come into contact with these individuals were also tested but none of them were found to be positive.

Almost two weeks ago, as many as 12,000 migrants seeking asylum were forced to leave the Moria camp, which had been bursting at the seams for years. Fires, which were deemed by the Greek authorities to have been set by migrants, caused the rest of the residents to flee and seek temporary shelter along roadsides, or even in cemeteries.

The small group of Afghan men and minor boys who have been charged with arson in the fires were angered by being told that they had to enter lockdown after 35 camp residents had been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

They, and many other former residents of Moria, had been hoping, according to authorities, to be moved onto the Greek mainland or shuttled onward to other European countries, and they held two demonstrations after the fires, demanding that they be moved to other such facilities off Lesvos.

The new Kara Tepe facility consists of large white tents set up in a spacious clearing that had once been used as a firing range by the Greek Army. A team of police officers, many of them female, were dispatched to the island to oversee the migrants’ move to the new camp, and over 7,000 individuals are already living there.

There are still stragglers who have refused to leave the olive groves which skirt the ruins of the old Moria camp; however, the police are expected to go to that area presently to try to move the migrants out of the groves and into the new camp.

Greece has been justifiably proud of the way it has handled the coronavirus pandemic; with a population of almost 11 million people, it has lost just 338 citizens to the virus, and the vast majority of those individuals suffered from an underlying ailment.

But Europe as a whole is dealing with a second wave of the pandemic and Greek officials are cracking down once again, imposing much stricter rules regarding the wearing of facemasks, staggering the times people travel to and from work, and limiting the number of those who are allowed to attend weddings, baptisms and other celebrations.

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