First virus death in Greek migrant camp

Greek officials on Sunday announced the first coronavirus death in a migrant camp near Athens, as refugee groups stepped up criticism of the containment policy of the Greek government and Europe.

The victim was a 61-year-old father-of-two from Afghanistan who had been living in the Malakassa camp near Athens, the asylum ministry said. He died while being treated in a hospital in Athens.

Malakassa, along with the Schisto and Elaionas camps near Athens, were placed in quarantine in early September as concerns mounted over the spread of the coronavirus among thousands of asylum-seekers living there in squalid conditions.

Greece’s migrant camps have been under lockdown since March, with restrictions on who can leave and enter, conditions harshly criticise by some rights groups.

On the Aegean island of Lesbos meanwhile, more than 240 asylum-seekers who transferred to a temporary camp after the destruction of the Moria camp in fires earlier this month, have contracted the virus.

Greek authorities on Sunday announced 218 new coronavirus cases and three deaths — including that of the migrant.

Since the start of the pandemic, 379 people have died of the virus in Greece, with an average age of 78. Sixty-eight people are currently in intensive care.

Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi said Sunday that all unaccompanied children had now been removed from the island camps. (AFP | Katerina NIKOLOPOULOU)

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