Coronavirus Is Closing Borders in Europe and Beyond. What Does That Mean for Refugees?

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Coronavirus Is Closing Borders in Europe and Beyond. What Does That Mean for Refugees?

Author: Melissa Godin | time.com | 25 march 2020

Camp residents wear surgical masks to protect from coronavirus on March 12, 2020 in Mytilene, Greece.

When Wahidullah Rahimi leaves his tent to wander around the refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos, he wears a face mask. But between standing in line alongside other refugees at food distribution centers and sleeping in an unsanitary tent, the 32-year-old Afghan knows there is little he can do to protect himself from COVID-19.

“There is a big possibility of everyone here getting coronavirus,” Rahimi says. “Everyone is worried.”

The E.U.-funded camp in Samos, built in 2016 to house 640 people, is now home to at least 3,745 refugees who live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Asylum-seekers, who sleep in cramped tents at night, already struggle to access medical care. In some parts of the camp, there is just one water tap for 1,300 people and one toilet for 167 people.

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