Greece transfers almost 400 migrants from Lesbos island to mainlandComments
Hundreds of asylum seekers are on the way to mainland Greece from a refugee camp in Lesbos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
The migrants are travelling by ferry and should arrive at Athen's Piraeus port tomorrow morning.
This is the first massive transfer of asylum seekers from the overcrowded Moria camp since the start of confinement imposed by the Greek government on March 23 amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The last massive transfer took place on March 20 with about 600 people involved.
In addition to the 392 people leaving Lesbos today, 2,000 others are set to be gradually transferred to mainland Greece in the coming weeks.
Greece dealing with critical situation in Aegean refugee camps
Greece has been dealing with a critical overcrowding situation in its Aegen Islands' refugee camps, which led to poor sanitary conditions and episodes of violence.
While the camps have around 6,200 places in total, almost 37,000 refugees are being hosted.
Lebos' Moria Camp, nicknamed "the jungle" hosts about 19,000 refugees, more than six times its capacity.
Many NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, have called on the Greek government to act "immediately" to ease pressure on the camps.
The country announced in February the construction of new camps to accommodate 20,000 asylum seekers, who will be limited to a three-month stay.
In the first quarter of 2020, about 10,000 migrants left the islands for the mainland, according to Greece's Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi.
He went to Lesbos on Sunday to inaugurate a medical center in Moria camp, which is supposed to carry out screening tests for asylum seekers.
Covid-19 cases were identified in two camps and a migrant hotel on the mainland, with 150 people tested positive.
However, no cases have been reported from camps on the islands so far.