Shortage of doctors delaying refugee transfers to mainland
A lack of doctors at three of the five migrant reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean has created serious problems in the transfer of migrants from island camps to the mainland, Kathimerini understands.
A key problem is that in order for refugees to be defined as “vulnerable” – a precondition if they are to be transferred from overcrowded island facilities to emptier venues on the mainland – the signature of a doctor from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (KEELPNO) is required.
Those doctors visit the islands when possible but in other cases staff must travel to Athens to receive the final approval.
Meanwhile the regional asylum processing office in Thessaloniki is struggling to perform its duties effectively after a fire at its premises at the end of December prompted the transfer of staff to a temporary venue. Appointments for migrants seeking asylum are being put back as far as 2021, Kathimerini understands.