First coronavirus case in Greek migrant camps as mother tests positive

First coronavirus case in Greek migrant camps as asylum seeker tests positive after giving birth at a hospital in Athens

  • The woman tested positive after going to hospital from a camp at Ritsona
  • Another woman living with the new mother has tested negative for coronavirus
  • Ten hospital staff have been quarantined and three people are being tested 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

An asylum seeker living at a Greek migrant camp has tested positive for coronavirus, Greece’s government revealed today.  

The woman was tested after giving birth at a hospital in Athens, the migration ministry said, in the first virus case involving the migrant camps. 

The unidentified woman lives at Ritsona, a camp around 50 miles north of the capital. It is not clear whether she was infected at the camp or the hospital. 

State-owned broadcaster ERT said the infected woman was of African origin.  

A woman helps a child to put on a protective mask at a migrant camp in Greece three days ago. One resident of a camp has now tested positive for coronavirus 

The ministry said another person living with the new mother had tested negative for the virus. 

‘The public health organisation is already tracking the contacts of this case in recent days, and taking all necessary measures to protect residents [of the camp] and staff,’ a statement said. 

Ten medical staff at the hospital have been quarantined and three other people in the same room as the woman are being tested, a hospital source said.  

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has previously urged Greece to evacuate migrant camps because of the threat of coronavirus.   

Tens of thousands of asylum seekers live in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions at the camps after arriving from Turkey or across the Mediterranean. 

Greece has run several vaccination campaigns at the camps in recent years, but no screening has been done for the current pandemic. 

A migrant and a Greek police officer – both wearing face masks – stand on either side of a fence at the Kleidi camp near Promahonas in northern Greece 

Instead, the Greek government has imposed rules to keep the migrants as far from the local population as residents. 

The movement of camp residents has been drastically reduced for the next 30 days. 

Access to nearby communities is only allowed to small groups under police supervision between 7am and 7pm.  

Specialised medical teams have being deployed to the camps and virus isolation areas and inspection points are being set up. 

Camp access to outside visitors is also barred, though aid and rights group representatives are still allowed to enter. 

There have been 46 recorded deaths and 1,212 cases of coronavirus in Greece, which has a population of 11million.     

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