The Greek authorities have put a Roma settlement in Larissa, in central Greece, under lockdown after several people there tested positive for the coronavirus.
The camp of around 3,000 people was placed under quarantine late Thursday after a 32-year-old man tested positive for the virus. Since then, 20 more infections have been confirmed, according to state television, though the government did not immediately report the total number of positive cases.
The movements of camp residents have been restricted, with the police cordoning off several blocks and officers patrolling the streets. The authorities will deliver food, medicine and other necessities until April 22, when the lockdown will be reviewed.
Greece’s Roma population, estimated at between 100,000 and 350,000, has long been marginalized. The Roma often face discrimination, and those in temporary camps across the country do not always receive state support.
Successive governments have made efforts to integrate Roma into broader society, primarily through education and health care programs, but efforts have been inconsistent, rights groups say. Giorgos Kaminis, a former mayor of Athens, said on Thursday that he had asked the Greek government to explain what measures had been taken to protect Roma communities but received no response.
“Unfortunately a few hours later, the first case of coronavirus was recorded,” he said, referring to the outbreak in Larissa.
Greece, a nation of 10.7 million, had 1,855 confirmed coronavirus infections and 86 deaths as of Thursday, a sign that the country may have effectively managed to contain the spread of the virus compared to European countries with similar populations. Portugal’s death toll is just over 400, while Belgium has reported more than 2,000 fatalities.