Globe, Migrants, Multiculture, United Kingdom, World

Refugees: infected, seeking asylum and forgotten

While Covid-19 continues its devastating passage through Europe, the situation of migrants in Greece worsens due to the threat of the pandemic that has already claimed several lives in accommodation centres.


First it was the Moria camp, on the island of Lesbos, devastated by a fire months ago; now it is the Vathy shelter, prepared to receive only 650 undocumented immigrants, but where 4,300 live.

The coronavirus infected hundreds in those and other camps scattered throughout that country, due to overcrowded conditions that make social distancing impossible.

This situation is condemned by international entities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which have given warnings about the inhuman reality since before the pandemic. The NGO Doctors Without Borders denounced the “atrocious conditions” suffered by thousands of refugees in Vathy, located on the island of Samos, and described the situation as unacceptable and dangerous.

There, more than a hundred people are in isolation after having tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19 and has infected millions of people worldwide.

In addition to the little space in the shelter, there are the unsanitary conditions, the lack of access to drinking water and medicines, and a deficiency of medical care, conditions shared with their counterparts in the country and additionally criticised by the European Union.

Fear marks the actions of the undocumented who in many cases do not leave their tents or makeshift rooms to avoid contagion, according to local media reports.

As the virus moves through Europe, some countries, such as Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, Belgium and others, are breaking records for the number of infected cases in one day, imposing more restrictive measures and warning of new outbreaks.

For its part, the migrant relocation programme, paralysed for months, is being revitalised, led by Germany, president pro tempore of the European Council until the end of the year, but such a solution is ineffective given the number of people seeking asylum.

Luxembourg, France, Portugal and Finland are part of the small group of countries who are so far willing to receive those who constitute the section of society most vulnerable to the pandemic.

Others are putting economic interests first or discriminating against that sector of the population based on race or creed, forgetting that immigration constitutes an important source of labour that is often in demand because it is very cheap due to its legal status. (PL)

(Translated by Hannah Phelvin – Email: Photos: Pixabay

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