Of the 93 facilities currently hosting migrants on the Greek islands, 60 that are operating in hotels will be closed by year-end with residents to be transferred to other facilities, Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said Thursday during a training seminar for the 32 governors that have been appointed to oversee facilities on the mainland.
Sixty out of the current 93 hospitality openings created in hotels for asylum seekers on the mainland will be closed in 2020 and the residents will be transferred to other facilities or will be included in the the UN Refugee Agency's ESTIA integration program, Migration and Asylum Policy Minister Notis Mitarakis said on Thursday.
Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis has argued that his ministry needs "flexibility" in dealing with Greece's migrant crisis since neighbouring Turkey abandoned a 2016 deal with the European Union in late February and lifted restrictions on migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa trying to reach the bloc via its territory.
The tension was palpable at the weekend at migrant facilities on the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios, with asylum seekers frustrated as they are not permitted to move outside the camps and are forced to wait in line for hours for food as a result of the problems created by the coronavirus restrictions.
Notwithstanding Greece's relative success in curbing the spread of the coronavirus, migrant reception centers across the country remain a concern as potential hotbeds for outbreaks, particularly on the Aegean islands where facilities are overcrowded and social distancing rules are all but impossible to enforce.