Authorities on Thursday night put a Roma settlement in Larissa, central Greece, under strict lockdown after several residents tested positive for the highly contagious novel coronavirus.
The settlement, which has an estimated population of around 3,000, was placed under quarantine on the orders of the deputy minister for civil protection, Nikos Hardalias, at 11 p.m. on Thursday.
The decision to ban all movement into and out of the settlement came after health authorities ascertained that a 32-year-old man who tested positive for the novel coronavirus had come into contact with at least 31 other residents of the area. Of those, 17 had been tested by Thursday evening and 12 were found to be positive for SARS-CoV-2.
The incident “confirms the worst-case scenario,” Larissa Mayor Apostolos Kalogiannis said in comments to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, expressing fears of the virus spreading across the community.
Residents at the settlement, which is located near a military base just a couple of kilometers from central Larissa, have been restricted to their homes, with local and regional authorities responsible for delivering food, medicines and other necessities door-to-door until April 23 at least. Roads leading to and from the settlement have also been closed by police.
A team of doctors from the University Hospital of Larissa is expected to collect more samples for testing starting on Friday morning.