More than 600 asylum seekers have been moved from Samos, Lesvos, Chios and Kos to the mainland since Saturday, as part of the Migration Policy Ministry’s ongoing operation to ease overcrowding on the islands ahead of winter.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 16,500 asylum seekers considered vulnerable have been included in the operation.
Those deemed to be vulnerable, that is, single-parent families, the disabled, unaccompanied minors and people suffering from mental health problems, are exempt from the rules of the EU-Turkey Statement and cannot be returned to Turkey.
This also means the geographical limitation does not apply to them and they are free to leave the islands.
The 600 refugees will spend their winter in four hotels: 275 people at one in Marathonas, 112 in the area of Stathmos Larissis, 92 in Aghioi Theodoroi, and another 380 in the town of Porto Heli, in Argolida.