Athens, Apr 2 (efe-epa).- The Greek government on Thursday quarantined more than 2,000 people in Ritsona refugee camp after detecting 20 cases of coronavirus among its residents.
Migration minister Panagiotis Mitarachi said entry or exit from the site, about 75 kilometers northeast of Athens, will be totally prohibited for the next 14 days.
The decision was made after the detection of the first Covid-19 case in the camp, an African woman who had given birth at an Athens hospital on Saturday.
Medical teams from Greece’s National Public Health Organisation tested 63 people on Wednesday who had been in contact with the woman and 20 cases were confirmed.
None of the people had symptoms of the disease, according to authorities.
Health officials will continue testing on Thursday until they have screened all of the 2,200 people living in containers spread across three sectors of the camp.
A strong police presence has been deployed to stop people from leaving or entering.
The migration and asylum ministry has set up an office in Ritsona to monitor the application of the restrictive measures and a team of health personnel has also been deployed.
The camp’s patient zero, who gave birth at Alexandra General Hospital in the capital, was at the clinic waiting to be discharged.
Her baby has not yet been tested because screening can only be carried out on infants who are at least seven days old, medical staff told public television.
Humanitarian organisations have warned about the risk of an uncontrolled outbreak in Greece’s refugee camps and have called for the immediate evacuation of shelters like Moria, where more than 20,000 people live in overcrowded conditions.
Vasilis Stravaridis, director of Doctors Without Borders Greece, said Moria has one bathroom for every 200 people and one drinking water tap for every 1,300.
“With these conditions, there is no management plan in case of contagion, but rather hope that this does not happen,” he added.
The government has said it has allocated spaces in the refugee camps that can be used for quarantine.
Greece’s migration ministry reported on Thursday the appearance of a new case among the refugee population in the Kilkis region in the north of the country.
The patient, a woman living in a social housing apartment, tested positive after being admitted to an obstetrics department of a hospital in the city.
She and her family have been quarantined and health teams are tracking anyone who had contact with them, according to officials.
The coronavirus pandemic emerged in China in December and has since spread around the world will almost one million global cases and deaths approaching 50,000. EFE-EPA