Greece has reinforced border controls in efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19, after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis cited EU Regulation 2016/399 on the movement of persons across borders and the necessity to prevent threats to public health.
Mitsotakis ordered enhanced border controls and patrols after an emergency cabinet meeting on Thursday, stressing that Greece, and particularly the Eastern Aegean islands face a high risk due to refugees from Iran and Afghanistan, where a large number of coronavirus cases have been confirmed. He stressed that the measure is also “a health protection for all of Europe”.
“In accordance with international law, we will increase controls both at sea and on land,” said Mitsotakis, who has already informed the European Commission of his decision.
The Greek PM added that Greece would also be launching an international campaign informing migrants and refugees heading to Greece that the country is no longer open to individuals without legal documentation.
“The migration issue is now taking on a new dimension as flows to Greece include people from Iran – where we have had many confirmed cases of coronavirus – and many from Afghanistan. Our islands, therefore, already burdened with public health issues need to be doubly protected,” he said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister has requested of the finance ministry to prepare an initial assessment of potential damage of the coronavirus epidemic.