ATHENS -- Greece welcomed on Wednesday the donation by China to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus at hosting facilities, where thousands of refugees and migrants are accommodated.
Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zhang Qiyue delivered to Alternate Migration and Asylum Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos 20,000 surgical masks to be distributed to reception centers for asylum seekers on the Aegean Sea islands and wherever deemed necessary.
More than 38,500 people are currently in overcrowded camps on five islands, according to the latest data provided by the Greek government.
"Five thousand of the 20,000 masks that we received today will go straight to Kranidi," Koumoutsakos told media during the event at the Greek ministry.
More than 150 coronavirus cases were confirmed this week at a hotel hosting 470 asylum seekers in the southern Greek town. The hotel has been sealed off and a 14-day curfew has been imposed on the entire town.
"We thank you, and this is also a message of good cooperation between the countries to counter a common threat, the pandemic that has affected the entire world..." Koumoutsakos said.
"We know that this is a critical time for the prevention of COVID-19, so we are happy to be of help," the ambassador told journalists.
The ambassador also praised Greece for its efficient response to the pandemic.
On March 21, China delivered the first large shipment of medical supplies to Greece to help it fight the pandemic.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in Greece now stands at 2,408, with 121 deaths. The country's first case was confirmed on Feb. 26.