French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on Thursday condemned local authorities on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos after it was forced to close down a Covid-19 isolation center and fined for zoning violations.
“MSF strongly condemns the authorities’ failure to identify a solution to keep the isolation center open when there is still a risk of Covid-19 spreading through nearby Moria reception center. There, more than 15,000 refugees are living in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions,” MSF said in a press release.
The MSF charity opened the center on May 6 near the Moria migrant camp to provide a safe area where infected or potentially infected patients cases could be treated and monitored without exposing the rest of the camp population to the virus.
According to MSF, the center, which is part of the Migration Ministry’s Covid-19 response plan, started being fined and threatened with criminal action by local authorities earlier this month.
“We are deeply disappointed that local authorities could not quash these fines and potential charges in the light of the global pandemic, despite some efforts from relevant stakeholders,” Stephan Oberreit, MSF’s Head of Mission in Greece, said. “The public health system on Lesvos would simply be unable to handle the devastation caused by an outbreak in Moria – which is why we stepped in.”