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MEPs call for Greek migrant camps to be evacuated

AFP  |  Brussels 

Lawmakers in the European Parliament are calling for asylum-seekers in Greece's overcrowded camps to be evacuated because of the deadly risk posed by the novel coronavirus.

In a letter released Monday, the head of the parliament's civil liberties committee, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, warned that the 42,000 migrants packed into the facilities built for just 6,000 had no possibility of social distancing.

"One of the main issues to be addressed to avoid the quick and wide spread of COVID-19 on the Greek islands is the urgent preventive evacuation of the overcrowded camps... If the EU fails to take immediate action, the situation on the Greek islands will become unmanageable with the risk of many deaths," he said.

The letter was addressed to the EU's commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic.

The parliamentary committee also called for EU member states to coordinate health access for asylum-seekers and more funding to boost hospital capacity and intensive care.

Greece has so far not detected any coronavirus infection cases in its migrant camps set up on some of its islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos.

The country has registered 695 cases, including two in the Greek community on Lesbos, and 17 deaths.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 14:28 IST