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Greece: first refugee dies of COVID-19 since the pandemic

September 28, 2020 at 8:23 am

Refugees and migrants from the Moria camp protest the living conditions in the camp as they become homeless after a fire destroyed the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos in Greece on 11 September 2020. [Aggelos Barai – Anadolu Agency]

A male refugee died of COVID-19 on Sunday, the first reported death of an asylum seeker since the pandemic broke out in Greece in late February, a government official told Reuters.

The 61-year-old Afghan, a father of two children, who lived at the refugee camp of Malakasa north of Athens, was treated and died at a hospital in Athens, the official said, adding that authorities were tracing his contacts.

It was not immediately clear how long he had been at the hospital.

The Malakasa camp, which hosts about 3,000 refugees, has been quarantined since Sept. 7 after positive tests for the new coronavirus.

Many other refugee facilities in Greece have been sealed off or movement has been restricted to stem the spread of the virus.

READ: German minister defends decision to take refugees from Greek islands 

Greece has been the main gateway into the European Union for people fleeing conflict in the Middle East and beyond. More than a million people reached its shores from Turkey in 2015-16.

At least 110,000 people currently live in refugee facilities – 40,000 of them in overcrowded camps on five islands.

A fire burnt to the ground a refugee camp on Greece’s biggest, on island of Lesbos this month, leaving about 12,000 people stranded. Most of them have now moved to a temporary tent camp on the island.

Greece reported 218 COVID-19 cases on Sunday and three deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 17,444 since the first case surfaced late February.