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24 March 2020 EU calls for the evacuation of vulnerable refugees on Greek islands in face of coronavirus risk

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson called on Greece to evacuate elderly and sick refugees and migrants from overcrowded refugee camps on Greek Islands. The country quarantined the refugee camp of Ritsona, home to 2,300 people, since 20 residents were tested positive to coronavirus on 1 April. In an interview with Reuters, Johansson stated that the EU is working together with Greece on an emergency plan that may include the “relocation of the most vulnerable individuals from the overcrowded camps to other areas on the islands”. The risk of a potential outbreak due to the lack of proper sanitary conditions was already denounced by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF), which called for a total evacuation of migrants and refugee camps on 12 March. All camps on Greek islands are currently under confinement after the Greek government announced on 17 March a two-week shutdown to visitors as a preventive measure.