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Migrant Camp on Chios on Full Lockdown Due to Coronavirus; Migrant Hotels Closed


The VIAL camp on Chios. Photo: AMNA

The VIAL Reception and Identification Center for migrants on the Greek island of Chios was placed under full lockdown due to two cases of the coronavirus being diagnosed there as of Thursday, authorities announced. The complete lockdown will continue until August 25.

The decision, taken jointly by the Citizen’s Protection and Migration and Asylum Ministries with the National Public Health Organization, was made after a single 35-year-old man and a staff member of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) were found positive for the coronavirus earlier in the day.

Authorities are currently tracing their contacts and testing all staff at the facility. The young migrant, who is from Yemen, has been hospitalized with a fever at the Northeast Aegean island’s hospital.

All entry and exits are now prohibited for everyone at the facility, and a police unit is on duty around the camp. In addition, the operations of the Asylum Service office as well as all NGO programs within the facility have been suspended.

In other related news on Friday, Greece announced that all 67 hotels throughput the country which are operating as asylum seeker hosting facilities will be closed until the end of the year.

Eight hotels operating as hosting facilities for asylum seekers have already beenshut down as part of the Migration Ministry’s plan, while on Friday, six such hotel facilities closed in Florina and Grevena also shut their doors.

A similar hotel facility had closed in mid-July in Argolida region of Greece.

The facilities in Grevena and Florina hosted a total of 220 asylum seekers, who were then transferred to other hosting facilities on the mainland. The total number of those transferred, including those from Argolida, came to 683.

The total number of hotels operating in Greece as hosting facilities, originally 67, is now is 59. Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said that “we are proceeding according to schedule, which foresees the closing of the rest of the 59 hotel facilities in 2020.

“Our aim is the substantial decongestion of the islands and of the mainland,” he added.


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