New cases of coronavirus have been triggered today with the lockdown in different districts of Beijing. Eleven housing complexes in the south of the capital of China were isolated because of an outbreak of Covid-19 connected to the meat market of Xinfadi, according to reports from local officials. Nine of the schools and kindergartens in the vicinity were closed.
Exceeded quota 425mila (425.330) the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus in the worldaccording to data from the american university and Johns Hopkins. The total cases of infection are almost 7 million and 630mila. The most affected country in the world remains the United States, with approximately 115 people dead, more than 2 million cases.
The deaths from coronavirus in the United States in the last 24 hours have been 839. And’ what emerges from the data of the Johns Hopkins University, who speaks of 2.04 million of cases overall and 114.643 total deaths.
It does not show sagging pandemic coronavirus in Latin Americagiven that in the last 24 hours, the infections have increased by another 49.019 cases reaching 1.556.169, while the total general of the dead arrived to 75.661 (+2.115). And’ what emerges today from a statistical processing implemented by the LOOP on the basis of the data of 34 countries and territories in Latin america. The eyes of the analysts continue to be focused on the Brazil, the country widely most affected in the region. Its outbreaks are now 828.810 (+25.982) and the dead 41.828 (+909), with which you place as the second in the world overall, behind the United States. Follow Peru (220.749 and 6.308), Chile (160.846 and 2.870), Mexico (133.974 and 15.944), Ecuador (45.778 and 3.828), Colombia (46.858 and 1.545) and Argentina (27.373 and 772).
Are 6.472 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Pakistan in the last 24 hours, a figure that brings the total of cases to 132.405. This was announced by the ministry of Health. The death toll in the country has increased to 88 (19 in less than yesterday) at an altitude of 2.551. It is the second day in a row where there are over 6,000 new infections. The east Punjab and the Sindh south are the provinces most affected with 50.087 and 49.256 cases, respectively, the 75% of the total cases in the country. The number of people healed by the coronavirus has risen to 50.056 (37,8%), with 9.809 people who have recovered from illness in the last 24 hours. Pakistan announced Friday a budget of 7294,9 billion rupees for the next fiscal year. 20 billion rupees have been allocated to improve the capacity of health facilities and the production of medical equipment.
Brandenburg’s Prime Minister appeals to the Polish government.
Potsdam, Frankfurt (Oder) Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) has asked Poland to relax the strict corona rules for commuters who work in Germany. “In my view, commuters should have the opportunity to get to their jobs on the other side of the border,” wrote Woidke, who coordinates German-Polish cooperation for the German government, to the Germany coordinator in Poland, Bartosz Grodecki.
He campaigned for pragmatic solutions if the restrictions were extended. The “Märkische Oderzeitung” from Frankfurt (Oder) reported on Saturday. The national conservative government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki closed the borders for foreigners in the middle of March in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Commuters must return to Poland for two weeks of domestic isolation after returning to Poland. According to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in southern and eastern Brandenburg, this affects more than 25,000 commuters in Brandenburg and Berlin. Brandenburg supports the commuters financially.
On Friday evening, protests against the border closure occurred on both sides of the German-Polish border. Around 300 people took to the streets in the neighboring town of Ggorlitz, Zgorzelec, the PAP news agency reported.
There were demonstrations in the border towns of Slubice near Frankfurt (Oder), Rosowek in West Pomerania and Gubin in Lower Lusatia, each with more than a hundred participants. According to the police, the protests were quiet.
“Think of a common economic region”
“The region is split in half, which makes life very difficult for many people in the border area,” said Marta Szuster, a spokeswoman for the protests in Rosowek to the news agency. According to police, around 50 people, including schoolchildren and commuters, demonstrated in Frankfurt (Oder) against the closure of the Polish border. This demonstration was also trouble-free.
Woidke wrote in the letter to Poland: “The German side understands the border controls that Poland has introduced. But we also have to keep in mind that the border cuts through a common economic region. ”
Last weekend, when the Germany coordinator was appointed in Warsaw, the head of government advertised that the partnership would not be damaged by the corona pandemic.
More: Since the corona crisis, calls for a strong state have been increasing. The Polish government is just about right. Other EU countries are reacting with caution.
The corona crisis is particularly dramatic for the hundreds of thousands of people who have no health insurance coverage in Germany. Who is affected?
First of all, the situation that people in this country are cut off from health care is not new. However, the pandemic is now exacerbating it. This affects people who are forced to live here without a secure residence status. Even the self-employed, who can no longer raise the money for the contributions from private health insurance.
What is the connection with the fact that people without legal residence status do not seem to dare to see a doctor?
According to paragraph 87 of the Residence Act, there is an obligation to provide information. According to this, public authorities must inform the competent immigration authority if, in connection with the performance of their duties, they become aware of the residence of a person who does not have a residence permit and whose deportation is not suspended. This means that the social welfare offices that bear the costs of medical treatment must pass on the data of those affected to the immigration authorities. We request that paragraph 87 be abolished.
What position does this put the voluntary initiatives such as the so-called media offices and their networks that try to organize care through voluntary doctors?
The media offices and media networks only fill gaps that the state leaves. Colleagues feel a responsibility for the people who turn to them with trust, but are usually not supported by public structures. Those affected often avoid seeking medical treatment for fear of deportation. This can mean that they are only brought to the clinic in an extreme emergency. For some it is too late because the disease can have irreversible consequences and can even be fatal. This also threatens in the event of a disease on Covid-19.
You work with traumatized refugees who have a legal residence but are still particularly affected – in what way?
Many of them live in accommodation. The Asylum Seekers Benefits Act keeps them from regular health care. What was a problem before Corona times is now even more so: mass accommodation for refugees poses a health hazard and must therefore be permanently eliminated. Up to 40 percent of those affected who have mental illnesses due to traumatization suffer particularly because psychotherapeutic or psychiatric care is only possible to a very limited extent.
Who is responsible for this situation?
It is a major government failure that people in Germany have no access to health care. Associations, networks and anti-racist initiatives have therefore long been calling for this to change. With regard to people living here without papers, the withholding of fundamental rights should also be seen as part of a deterrent policy. That has to be ended.
Does the decision of the Berlin Senate last Friday help to get “a general medical care for people without health insurance” underway?
We think it’s good when Berlin tries to make access to medical care easier. The “Anonymous health certificate” project has been running in Thuringia since 2017 and applies not only to general practitioners, but also to specialists and clinics. Politicians do all of this because the media offices and media networks are exerting pressure. Overall, however, the following applies: A patchwork in various federal states leads to uncertainty about the legal situation among doctors and patients. We are therefore calling on the federal government to permanently regulate access to medical care for everyone.
The majority of the 49 unaccompanied minors with an average age of 13 years come from Afghanistan and Syria.
Athens, Hanover 47 unaccompanied minor refugees who had recently lived in camps on the Greek island landed at Hanover Airport on Saturday morning. They will initially be housed for a two-week quarantine in the Osnabrück district before being distributed to the federal states.
As the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry of the Interior announced, there are 42 children and 5 adolescents, 4 of whom are accompanied by younger siblings. 4 of the 47 minors are girls.
“I am pleased that we can receive the first unaccompanied children today – despite the severe stress caused by the corona crisis,” said Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) described the arrival of the refugee children as a start.
The unaccompanied children and adolescents were housed in refugee camps on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Samos and Chios. They come from Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea.
The ministry of migration in Athens initially mentioned 49 minors after the start. According to the German ministries, there were also 47 children on board, as well as 2 children who had been kidnapped by their father to Greece and returned to their mother living in Germany.
More: Virus outbreak threatens in crowded camps on the Greek islands. Now some children from the camps have arrived in Germany.
Incorrect information on origin and identity can make naturalization difficult.
Berlin Foreigners who have given a wrong name or a wrong home country when entering Germany should have a later problem with naturalization according to plans by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The “Welt” (online / print Friday) reports that it is planned not to count the years spent here under a false identity, referring to a draft law by the ministry. This is important because a foreigner must have lived in the country for eight years before the German passport can be applied for.
There can be various reasons for deception about identity or origin. So deportation is hardly possible if the person concerned has no papers and his home country is unknown.
According to the report, the draft law further stipulates that so-called identity fraudsters should be denied a (temporary) residence permit (otherwise usually granted to foreigners) and a later (permanent) settlement permit. This in turn is necessary in order to be naturalized. After the planned change in the law, those affected would already fail because of the settlement permit. Accordingly, the “clarification of identity and nationality as a mandatory requirement in the right of residence for the issue of a settlement permit” should be laid down.
The third hurdle concerns children of so-called identity deceivers. Up to now, children born in Germany to two foreign parents have generally received the German passport from birth if one parent has already lived in the country for eight years. In the future, the clarified identity and nationality of parents will be laid down as a “prerequisite” for this acquisition of citizenship of children born in Germany.
More: Federal Interior Minister Seehofer wants a ban on naturalization for people in multiple marriages.
Specialists warn: A time bomb is ticking in the camps. Because now the corona epidemic is evoking new dangers. In two refugee camps north of Athens, 28 residents have already tested positive. The camps are now under quarantine.
There are still no known cases of infection in the island camps, but the fear of the virus is widespread in the camps. Many residents wear masks. The recommendation to keep away sounds like a mockery to the people who are crammed together in the accommodations in a confined space.
Even washing your hands is a problem: “In some parts of the Moria camp, 1,300 people have to share access to water at a tap, and there is no soap,” reports the aid organization Doctors Without Borders.
Experts fear that it will only be a matter of time before the epidemic spreads to the island camps. Florian Westphal, Managing Director of Doctors Without Borders in Germany, says there are about 600 particularly vulnerable camp residents in Lesbos and Samos alone: older people and those with previous illnesses, but also sick children. The aid organization demands: “We need an emergency evacuation of all refugees from the Covid 19 high-risk group before the virus reaches the camps.”
Around 100,000 migrants currently live in Greece. They have been stuck there since the Balkans closed their borders in February 2015. Nobody knows exactly the number of children and young people traveling alone who have been stranded in Greece. It is estimated to be more than 5,100, of which around 500 are under the age of 14. Some set off alone as orphans, others lost their parents and siblings in the confusion of flight.
According to a survey by the National Center for Social Solidarity (Ekka), which is subordinate to the Greek Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, only 1836 unaccompanied minors are cared for in suitable accommodation on the mainland. The others live in camps or are completely on their own.
The age-appropriate accommodation and care of unaccompanied minors is expensive and personnel-intensive. “You have to put them in small groups of no more than 25 children,” explains Giorgos Protopapas, director of SOS Children’s Villages in Greece.
The international organization has decades of experience in dealing with orphans and children from broken families. “Many of these children and adolescents are deeply traumatized. Psychologists, doctors, educators and interpreters are needed around the clock to look after them,” Protopapas explains.
800 unaccompanied children live on the streets
The head of the SOS Children’s Villages estimates that around 800 unaccompanied children and adolescents in Greece “live on the street” and try to make ends meet, often with prostitution and drug trafficking.
Gavriil Sakellaridis, Greece director of Amnesty International, cites an even higher number: “Around 1200 unaccompanied migrants under the age of 18 have simply disappeared from the focus of the authorities and are very likely to be exposed to serious risks without protection,” says Sakellaridis.
Almost 1,700 minors live without relatives in the five camps on the East Aegean islands. Above all, it is about the relocations that are starting now. The conditions in the five hot spots on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Kos, Chios and Leros are catastrophic.
Moria refugee camp in Lesbos
There are still no known cases of infection in the island camps like here in Moria on Lesbos, but the fear of the virus is widespread in the camps.
The accommodations are designed for less than 8000 people. In fact, 39,429 migrants are penned up there, according to official statistics from mid-week. Because there is no more space in the living containers, an estimated 30,000 people, including many families with young children, live in camping tents or crates that they have made of slats, cardboard and plastic sheeting themselves.
The worst is the situation on Samos, where the Vathy camp with 6932 inhabitants is more than tenfold overcrowded. For example, 22 underage girls live here in a residential container that is only intended for five people.
Not enough couches for the camp residents
Because there are not enough beds, the girls have to try to sleep alternately. On the notorious Camp Moria on the island of Lesbos, 18 804 people live in accommodations that are designed for 2757 people.
Moria has made headlines as “Shame on Europe”. Residents speak of the camp as “hell”. The aid organization Human Rights Watch has documented the fate of young people in Moria. “Everything is dangerous here: the cold, the tent in which I sleep, the fights – I don’t feel safe,” says 14-year-old Afghan Rachid.
The 15-year-old Ali says that when he arrived in Moria he was given a sleeping bag and told him: “Find a place to sleep outside.” The same happened to the 16-year-old Samir: “You gave me a blanket, a used T -Shirt and a small mat and told me to look for a place outside. “The frustration of the young people is increasingly escalating into aggression: On Wednesday a 20-year-old Afghan stabbed a 16-year-old boy in an argument in Moria.
He was shocked when he visited Camp Moria, reports Christos Christou, president of the aid organization Doctors Without Borders. A third of the camp residents are under the age of 18. “These children and young people have lost their appetite for life, they don’t speak, they don’t play.”
The situation in Moria is “comparable to what we see after natural disasters or in war zones”. It is outrageous to see these conditions in Europe and to know that they “are not the result of a disaster, but the result of targeted political decisions,” says Christou.
The Greek government is trying to relieve the overcrowded island camps. Around 11,000 people have been relocated from the islands to the mainland since the beginning of the year. But most of the accommodations there are now too busy.
Greece has been demanding for years that the other EU countries take over part of the asylum procedures. The EU has been discussing a reform of the European asylum system since 2015. The aim is to relieve the countries of first arrival and to distribute the asylum procedures to all member states. But the reform is still a long time coming, mainly because some Eastern European countries refuse to accept refugees at all.
More: The admission of refugee children is a question of decency: after Germany, other EU countries should also get their way.
Germans are currently being brought home from all over the world. The state was not always so friendly. In 1940 Hilde Domin had to be grateful to a Caribbean dictator for asylum. The racist wanted to “brighten” his population with Jews.
Deutsche are stranded all over the world, are brought home from the furthest corners of the world with charter machines from the Federal Foreign Office. The life of the German poet shows how comparatively well off they are Hilda Domin. Their emigration, flight and homecoming – all at their own expense – are part of the normal résumés of the 20th century.
Born in Cologne in 1909 as Hilde Löwenstein, she studied in Heidelberg from 1929. There she met Erwin Walter Palm, her future husband, the classical philologist and archaeologist. Even before Hitler seized power, it was clear to both that – because of their Jewish origin – they had no future in Nazi Germany. They move to Italy in 1932. With Hitler’s role model Mussolini of all things, they are safe at first, study in Florence, marry in Rome. Hilde Palm teaches Italians German.
In 1939 they flee to England. But there one expects Hitler Germany’s attack. Hilde and Walter have hesitated too long, all ships to America are full. There is only one country left to accept refugees. And is there still a ship that casts off? Ships are now confiscated for troops. On June 26, 1940, Hilde and Walter boarded the “Scythia” in Liverpool, and they were lucky that the ship actually left.
On August 4, it reached Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Rafael Trujillo rules in the Caribbean state. The dictator worships Hitler and Mussolini, puts on SS uniforms for private enjoyment. But – so paradoxical is the 20th century – he takes in German Jews. He grants them asylum because they match his island racism. Everything that brightens the population, which on the island of Hispaniola largely consists of former slaves, blacks who have been coming from Africa for centuries “Saint Domingue” abducted, today’s Haiti is welcome. Trujillo likes to powder himself white.
Hilde and Walter almost gave him a white Caribbean child because Hilde got pregnant during the crossing. But who wants to give birth to a child while fleeing? Hilde drifts off. Hilde and Walter live precariously in exile for 22 years. Their marriage was in crisis when Walter made a modest career and came to Cuba, Paraguay and Mexico on lecture tours, while Hilde remained his eternal secretary. The more often the blanket falls on her head, the more energetically she writes poems for herself. Writing will become her second life.
They lived in Santo Domingo until 1951, returned to Germany in 1954, moved to Heidelberg in 1961, where Erwin Walter Palm died in 1988 and Hilde survived him by 18 years. Back from the Caribbean, she was a poet. In addition to love, she discusses exile experiences in many verses. In 1954 she published – in the magazine “Hochland” – for the first time under the stage name Domin.
Hilde Domin became one of the best-known poets in the old Federal Republic, Walter Jens put her in line with Nelly Sachs, Marie-Luise Kaschnitz and Ingeborg Bachmann. My children, Domin once said, are the poems. There is a film about her life by Anna Ditges and two wonderful books by Marion Tauschwitz, available for cleats.
All life as a writer is said to be paper. In this series we are going to prove the opposite.
Berlin Ulrich Benedix can hardly save himself from work. Because people are currently more at home, they also buy more regionally produced meat, the managing director of the agricultural multi-family business Agro Saarmund believes. The company sells its own cattle meat and pork from other factories. Its sales in the corona crisis are 20 percent higher than in “normal” times.
“I’m desperately looking for employees,” says Benedix, who has been running the company since last summer. “No chance.” He is glad that only a handful of Poles and Ukrainians who cut meat for him have stayed at home. Otherwise the work would be even less possible.
Many farmers across Germany are currently like Benedix. Hurry is called for. In the next few days, many will have to make a final decision about which types of fruit and vegetables will be grown. The asparagus harvest has also started. In this situation, the entry ban imposed by the federal government for foreign seasonal workers fruit, vegetable or wine growers, but also animal keepers and slaughterhouses is hard hit.
“We need our experienced and proven seasonal workers from Eastern Europe who have been coming to us for many years,” farmers’ president Joachim Rukwied told Handelsblatt. “They are experienced employees. You can’t replace it overnight. It won’t work without them. “The entry stop must be kept as short as possible, Rukwied demands and promises:” Our companies are ready to implement and implement all measures to protect against infection in order to protect their employees. “
Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) also made it clear on Wednesday that it would not work without seasonal workers and harvest workers from abroad. That is why she is in conversation with Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU), she said in the ARD morning magazine. “We have to find a solution, we cannot leave the farmers hanging here,” said Klöckner.
The Working Group on Food and Agriculture of the Union’s parliamentary group addressed a fire letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and demanded that the entry restrictions for seasonal workers from Romania and other EU member states be relaxed. The preferred handling of seasonal workers for agriculture recommended by the EU Commission must be implemented immediately in Germany, it says in the letter of the MPs, which is available to the Handelsblatt. “That is why the entry ban for seasonal workers must be lifted immediately.”
EU puts pressure
The EU Commission published guidelines on the free movement of persons of systemic importance on Monday. It calls on Member States to introduce specific procedures to ensure a smooth border crossing for seasonal workers who are urgently needed for planting or harvesting.
The fire brief of the agricultural politicians states that rapid procedures such as fever tests, for which those affected do not have to leave their vehicle, and the establishment of special lanes ensure that seasonal workers can reach their target companies without further contact and without wasting time.
Because it cannot be assumed that helping hands from Germany can do all the agricultural work that is now to be done. Seasonal workers make up almost a third of the agricultural workforce. The employment agencies tried to meet the needs of agriculture, the head of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele, emphasized on Tuesday. For example, there is the possibility for short-time workers to find themselves as harvest helpers without the wages being counted towards the short-time allowance.
But Scheele had previously dampened expectations in the Handelsblatt interview that unemployed people could now take over the jobs in agriculture. “It didn’t work before,” said Scheele.
The farmers are thankful for the solidarity and support from the population, said farmers’ representative Rukwied. However, many people apparently only wanted to help out part-time or on individual days of the week. “But harvesting aids is a full-time job. It’s quite a hurdle, ”said Rukwied. In addition, many of them naturally wanted to return to their actual job as quickly as possible and would then drop out.
Seehofer’s department points out unemployed refugees
The Federal Ministry of the Interior emphasized on Monday that the entry restrictions imposed by seasonal workers do not apply to internal borders with Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia that are free of border controls. The majority of the harvest helpers are Romanians, for whom – just like for Bulgarians – the entry stop applies.
However, Seehofer’s department points out that at the end of February there were 156,000 registered refugees registered as unemployed in Germany. A further 264,000 persons entitled to protection still take part in integration courses or other support measures, but could also be deployed at least temporarily. And even as yet asylum seekers who are not yet recognized can be given an employment permit under certain conditions.
However, the farmers hope that they will be able to use the proven forces from Eastern and South Eastern Europe as quickly as possible. President Rukwied does not consider the supply of basic foodstuffs such as bread, meat, potatoes and milk to be at risk. However, there may be gaps in supply and failures in various crops in the fruit and vegetable sector. “This shortage will also have an impact on the price.”
Also the CEO of the agricultural group Baywa, Klaus Josef Lutz, called for the borders to be reopened as quickly as possible for seasonal workers from other European countries: Otherwise, the federal government would risk “that entire product chains, especially those for fruit and vegetables, could fail in the coming weeks and months and that comprehensive supply will no longer be guaranteed “.
More: Many seasonal workers from abroad are no longer allowed to enter due to the corona crisis. Asparagus and vegetable growers fear for their harvest and existence.
NAt the beginning of March, Spain headed for a new record. Since the end of 2019, the number of asylum seekers has increased from week to week. At times, Spain took the leading position in the EU. But then the government called the alarm and only 25 new applications were made, compared to 3,865 the week before. This emerges from the internal statistics of the EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), which the Spanish newspaper “El País” referred to. The numbers haven’t been that low in years. 2020 had started quite differently for Spain: With more than 37,000 asylum applications, it even exceeded Germany and France.
Now the number of migrants who try to get to Spain by sea or via the exclaves in Ceuta and Melilla has also decreased significantly: there were only a good 90 in the past week; by mid-March there were a total of around 5,200. Not only Spain, but also many African countries of origin have closed their borders and stopped flying and shipping.
Athens The northeast wind drove dark clouds on Friday from the Turkish coast over the island of Lesbos. Showers fell. As always, when it rains, the trails in the Moria refugee camp turned into mud deserts. The water flushes the garbage down into the valley, seeps into the tents, soaks blankets and mattresses. “We have to act before it is too late,” says Fotini Kokkinaki from the aid organization “HumanRights360”.
For years, helpers have drawn attention to the terrible conditions in which tens of thousands of people have to live in the migrant camps on the Greek Aegean Islands. Doctors kept warning about the risk of epidemics. The fear of the corona virus is now widespread in the camps. “If the virus arrives in the crowded camps, the consequences will be devastating,” Kokkinaki warns. Curfews, closed schools, shops and restaurants: For weeks the Greek government has been fighting against the spread of the corona virus with new bans. However, the authorities initially paid little attention to the situation in the overcrowded migrant camps. The contagion drive there is particularly great because of the large spatial confinement in which people live.
So far, according to the government’s official statement in Athens, there are no known cases of infection in the migrant camps on the islands. But that says little, because there are no systematic tests at all.
The temperature is only measured for newcomers. According to official information from the end of this week, 40 703 residents live in the five so-called hotspots, the initial reception centers on the Aegean islands of Samos, Lesbos, Leros, Chios and Kos – crammed into camps that are designed to accommodate 8896 people.
19 283 migrants live in the notorious Moria camp on Lesvos, with space for 2757 residents. Because the official warehouse built from residential containers has been overcrowded for years, an estimated 15,000 people, including many families with children, live in the adjacent olive groves. They pitched camping tents there or made slats, cardboard and plastic tarpaulins.
Experts fear that the virus has long been rampant in Moria and the other camps, even if it has not yet been detected. The Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum is trying to ban the impending danger with a twelve-point plan.
Visits to the camps
This includes bans on visits to the camps. They also apply to employees of non-governmental organizations that used to play an important role in the care of people. The freedom of movement of the camp residents is also restricted.
So far, they could move freely on the islands. Now they are only allowed to leave the camps in small groups for shopping between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but only one person per family.
Sports events and school lessons in the camps are discontinued. The sanitary facilities and common areas should be disinfected regularly. It is also planned to set up isolation stations. But it is difficult to imagine how this should be implemented in the chaotic camps.
With multilingual leaflets and loudspeaker announcements, the camp residents are informed about the precautions they can take to reduce the risk of infection. But the recommendation to keep your distance and avoid crowds of people must sound like a mockery to the camp residents.
You cannot avoid each other. Camp Vathy on Samos was built for 648 residents, but currently houses 7264 people. There are 816 places in the camp on Kos, but 2969 residents. The camp on Chios is five times overcrowded with 5363 residents.
Experts warn of uncontrollable conditions if the virus spreads in the camps. “Given the circumstances, it would be impossible to control the outbreak of the epidemic in the hotspots – thousands of lives would be in danger,” says Antigone Lyberaki of the aid organization Solidarity Now. “There is a time window to deal with the situation, but this window closes quickly.”
Government refuses to close camps
The human rights organization Human Rights Watch appealed to the government this week to immediately evacuate the island camps. The EU Commission asked Greece to take at least particularly vulnerable people, such as the elderly, the sick and families with children, from the overcrowded camps and to place them elsewhere on the islands.
The aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which tries to provide at least minimal medical care, especially for children, in the camps on Chios, Samos and Lesbos, demands a complete eviction: “The horrific living conditions are in the crowded hotspots on the islands an ideal breeding ground for Covid-19, ”says the MSF call.
The government has so far refused to close the camps and move migrants to the mainland. The reason: The virus is already rampant on the mainland. On the other hand, migrants are safer on the islands, as there have been almost no proven infections there, except for two cases on Lesbos, outside the camp.
Another reason why the government is hesitant to evacuate: Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis faces a problem that can hardly be solved. He doesn’t know what to do with the more than 40,000 migrants on the islands.
Because the 28 migrant camps on the mainland have long been overcrowded. The planned construction of new warehouses mostly meets with strong resistance from the population and local politicians in the affected communities.
Refugee women from the Moria migrant camp in Greece sew respirators.
There have also been local protests in the past against the accommodation of migrants in hotels and pensions that are now empty. The fear of the epidemic is likely to further fuel the resentment against migrants that is felt in many places.
The government in Athens has been calling for redistribution of asylum seekers to other EU countries for years – to no avail. In view of the corona epidemic, there is probably even less to think about than now.
After all, there is a small ray of hope: the reluctant transfer of 1,600 unaccompanied minors from the camps for weeks could finally get going, despite Corona. EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson hopes the move can begin next week.
Seven EU countries have agreed to accept the minors, including Germany. A total of around 5500 unaccompanied migrants under the age of 18 live in Greece. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, around 2,000 of these are on the islands.
Regardless of the corona crisis, the federal government is in favor of quickly receiving minors from the refugee camps on the Greek islands. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer stand by his promise, said ministry spokesman Steve Alter on Friday in Berlin.
Looking at the organization of the EU Commission, he said: “According to our knowledge, there is movement in there.” He could not say exactly when it will happen, but “we also see progress”.
Whether Germany will eventually accept 250 or 400 minors is still as unanswered as the question of when they will leave Greece. “The Federal Government is in intensive exchange with the European partners to ensure prompt takeovers from the Greek islands,” said the Interior Ministry.
More: Greeks flee to the islands for fear of the virus: More and more Greeks are taking refuge on one of the islands. But the townspeople are not welcome there.