The Interior Ministry announced Friday that lockdown measures at the Pournara camp for refugees and asylum seekers will be scrapped on Monday.
“In view of the opinion issued by the medical staff of the First Arrival Registration Centre Pournara, in which the maintenance at zero levels of cases of COVID-19 and scabies is recorded, the Interior Ministry is announcing that from Monday, 15 June 2020, the pre-pandemic function of Pournara will be restored,” the Interior Ministry announcement said.
The announcement hints at the scrapping of lockdown measures that have been imposed on residents of the camp, who staged multiple protests in recent months against poor living conditions and demanding to be allowed to leave camp grounds. But it remains unclear whether any adjustments will be made to solve the acute overcrowding issues at the camp which is currently hosting several hundred residents over capacity.
Authorities were criticized recently for carrying out policies under which asylum applicants were being picked up from their places of residence or other locations and transferred to the migrant camp, which was originally designed to host asylum seekers for a maximum of 72 hours for initial checks and processing.
During the most recent protest at the Pournara camp on Thursday, a group of asylum seekers at the migration facility in Kokkinotrimithia attempted to breach an outer fence at the camp, with police officers responding with tear gas.
On Friday, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris accepted an invitation by Andros Kyprianou, leader of opposition party Akel, to visit Pournara camp with him on June 23.