IOM Responding to New COVID-19 Outbreak in Greece

Posted: 
04/21/20
Themes: 
COVID-19

The International Organization for Migration is responding to a new outbreak of COVID-19 in an IOM-managed temporary accommodation facility for asylum seekers in Southern Greece after 150 people tested positive for the virus on Monday. 

All 471 residents of the facility located in a Porto Heli hotel have been under quarantine since a single positive case was identified last week, in line with the protocols developed by the Greek authorities, and their movements restricted to the hotel grounds. 

The majority of asylum seekers are single parents, mainly from Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

Among those who tested positive is an IOM staff member and a hotel employee. Both are now quarantined in their homes. 

All cases are asymptomatic, but their conditions are being closely monitored. 

“It is very important for these people to receive continued support and assistance,” said Gianluca Rocco, IOM Chief of Mission in Greece.  

“They should not feel at any moment that they are left alone or neglected, especially during this difficult period. Stigmatization and discrimination against migrants during the pandemic are not only harmful to migrants themselves, but also to the society as a whole, and may jeopardize efforts made to prevent or mitigate the spreading of the virus.” 

A team of IOM facility coordinators, psychologists and interpreters, a legal counsellor and social worker provided with personal protective equipment (PPEs) continue to meet the needs of the people with the support of the European Commission. The hotel has been sanitized, its staff provided with PPEs and information disseminated about Greek National COVID-19 guidelines. 

Food continues to be provided by the hotel, while IOM staff, in collaboration with the local authorities will continue to deliver meals suitable for toddlers, as their parents are unable to access to local markets. 

The Greek authorities have announced city-wide movement restrictions for 15 days, from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am. 

“In line with protocol, IOM has been coordinating closely with relevant authorities and is implementing all measures requested by the National Health Organization and the Ministry of Migration and Asylum. In the spirit of cooperation, we will take all needed action to ensure the safety of all asylum seekers, IOM staff and the local population”, added Rocco.  

Two other IOM-assisted migrant facilities in Greece have also recorded cases of COVID-19. 

For More information please contact:  

Christine Nikοlaidou at IOM Greece, Email: cnikolaidou@iom.int tel +30 6947833412 

Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels Email: RSCHROEDER@iom.int tel + 32 492 25 02 34  

Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva Email: smsehli@iom.int tel: +41 794035526