Source: Hospital Infections In Greece
According to a large recent comparative study on 15 European countries Athens is proved to be more fatal than the majority of the rest of European cities under heat wave temperatures, becomes more fatal as the mercury goes up, per 1°C increase, and even more dangerous and fatal per day of the heat prolonged period, and even more harmful as the ozone and air pollution prises rise
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The Times revealed Tuesday, February 24, that Mr. Samaras’ government made a secret deal with a group of Syrian refugees in December offering them official residency papers and travel documents in return for information on people-smuggling gangs. About 200 people have so far been issued with the documents, and most have since left to claim asylum in other EU states.
Syrians who managed to reach Greece have told the Times of London newspaper that they convinced Athens to provide them with official residency papers. Once they had these, they were able to book flights to northern European countries more generous to migrants.
“The arrangement suited both parties, it is alleged. The Syrians did not want to settle in Greece, because the economy was in crisis and there were few jobs. Unlike Germany, it does not promote a policy of family reunification, where migrants can bring relatives to live with them once they are settled.”
Germany’s politicians reacted with fury, The Times said.
How it started
About 840 Syrians took part in a 24-day sit-in protest in Athens demanding the right to travel to other European countries. They were initially told that they would have to claim asylum in Greece.
Later, the government quietly reversed its position and told them that they would receive the documents that recognised them as legitimate asylum seekers in Greece. They received two sets of papers: a Greek residency pass and Greek travel documents.
With official Greek residency papers, Syrians have been able to book a flight to Germany, rip their papers up during the flight and claim asylum once they land in Germany.
Under EU law, asylum seekers must remain in the first country they arrive in and can be deported back to that country if they travel to other member states.
However, countries that are popular with migrants, such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden, cannot send the newcomers back to Greece because deportations to the cash-strapped country have been suspended since 2011 to help it cope with its own problems.Last month Germany extended its suspension on sending asylum seekers back to Greece by another year.
Abu Obei, one of the organisers of the Syrian demonstration, said: “When we started protesting in late November, the government [told us] that our only option was to claim asylum in Greece. But after 24 days a member of the government came to us and said we could work out a deal.”
“Refugees come to Greece as a transit point,” said Ahmed, a Syrian who has been in Greece for almost a year after crossing illegally from Turkey. “They want to travel on from here, so the thing everyone wants to avoid is having their fingerprints taken. If that happens, they can be deported back to Greece.”
Yannis Panousis, the new Greek minister of the interior, said that he was unaware of any sh uch deal, but pledged to investigate the claims.
A complete Guidelines’ index has been sent since October 2014 by the Ministry of Health and the Greek Center for Disease Control (HCDCP), to all the authorities in charge, and the Greek Coastguard, by an updated guidance of preventive measures for Ebola and the Contagious Diseases, concerning the entry of illegal immigrants into the country.
According to what is proposed by the Greek CDC, -Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP)-, the Medical Control groups on charge for the immigrants’ medical screening, are required
- to complete in detail the forms of the screened individuals,
by their travel history to West. Africa.
- In case of Ebola suspected cases,
-the immigrants should enter a compulsory attendance period of 21 days,
-while the team of doctors on Greece’s borders should send daily to Greek CDC a special form of “Daily Declaration of Persons entering Greece from the Ebola affected countries.”
But the number of illicit immigrants entering Greece continues to be out of control, as are the circumstances hosting them all over the entry points of the country, which means basically the Aegean islands.
Have a look on Greece’s immigrants reports published to the media on November 2014
Refugees’ Tsunami ‘chokes’ the islands,“Vima” newspaper
“From the beginning of 2014 until September 30, the number of those who entered Greece illegally from Turkey by the sea, has reached the number of 29,894, an increase of 271% over the nine months last year. wrote on the first days of November “Vima” newspaper.
“There is an impressive increase on the number of arrivals of refugees and illicit immigrants” said the he UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Athens Mr. C. Tsarbopoulos, on his interview. “People are sleeping just in front of you at the ports, underfoot or on the balconies of police stations and detention facilities, which are able to accommodate 10 to 15 people but is overloaded by 70, each one at least“..
Most are refugees from Syria.The islands have been proved to be unable to handle the increased flow of recent months, as obvious to anyone.
“The checking and tracing proceedures of the newcomers, (registration, identification, medical screening and referral to appropriate services) should be immediatly addressed on all the country’ s entry points” underlines since then the UNHigh Commissioner.
But small islands do not have any infrastructure, as the “vima” article successfully notes. “During the summer, as an accommodation place, the courtyards of schools and churches are used. During the winter, however, the cold and rain make it unbearable, but still for the immigrants this is the place”.
On Chios, Samos and Lesvos islands of the Aegean, where the detention centers exist , “the volume of the illicit immigrants’ populations exceed three to four times the centers’ capacity. – Samos center hosts actually instead of 240 people, 900, “Mr. Tsarbopoulos said.
Tragic circumstances in Tilos
Only on Tilos, during the last three days ( November 2014), the number of illicit immigrants that reach the island was over 330 people, according to the mayor of the island Maria Kamma-Aliferis.
During the summer the immigrants used the courtyard of an elementary school, instead of a campus “Now they have to be transferred to the courtyard of a monastery. Water does not exist, it is carried by a tank. It has only a toilet, but no shower. We take the children at home to wash. Yesterday we had a baby 23 days. There are two rooms where the children sleep and rest in the open air , in sleeping bags which brought the UNHCR. Volunteers cook in large cauldrons which we usually use at festivals. We call for an organized space with capacity for 100 people, which will live for two-three days with dignity, with containers, toilets, showers, doctor and nurse “concludes Kamma lady.
Bottles of water for toilet
On Symi, while arriving at the port, tourists are confronted with refugees hanging like bunches from the balcony of the police station. They hold empty bottles of water which they use .for.. toilet
“Last year they arrived in Simi 2,700 illegal immigrants,” says Mayor. Av. Papakalodoukas. “There is only one boat of the Coast without radar and often a damaged machine. The summer 14,000 yachts and 500,000 tourists visited the island. The worst is that the island has only one doctor. ”
The High Commissioner had urgently stressed the need for a contingency plan ahead of winter.
- “First, they need space for the short stay of refugees and migrants, as plots with container.
- Second, we must strengthen the Coast Guard and the Police to procedures quickly to fleeing refugees from the islands.
- Third, we must ensure the first medical examination and care of all those who suffer, which is a crucial requirement and constitutes society. And, fourthly, to put these people basic necessities, such as individual hygiene items, blankets, etc., “says. Tsarbopoulos.
All this is in the interests of local communities, because the refugees will arrive anyway, and will just stay in ports, roads and squares, without being checked medically.
Once they pass the first inspection, they all are making their way to Piraeus with the ferry. On their hands they hold a memo expulsion of command to leave the country within 30 days . In case they are Syrians, they get a a six-month suspension of deportation which gives them the right to stay for six months .
Biosafety, threatened really on EU borders?
By the Ebola threat multiplying day-to day in the Western world, the border control has become one of the major topics on Ebola within the western world , especially after Obama ordered the tightening of airport screening on travelers from African countries.
Today, 26 US congressmen urged the US President to toughen airport screenings, ban citizens of impacted West African countries from traveling to the U.S. and consider quarantining travelers who have recently traveled to those countries, noting that the disease could spread in the U.S. as infected individuals might not show symptoms for 21 days after being exposed to the deadly virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
A similar official question to the European Parliament has been raised by the EMP Gianluca Buonanno (NI)
|According to the data and statistics available, more illegal immigrants from Africa arrive in Europe, including Italy, every year than cross the US border from Mexico. Furthermore, there are serious problems in the EU relating to the lack of controls and the spread of infectious diseases, such as Ebola and tuberculosis, that accompany illegal immigration from Africa.
President Obama is using the American military in patrol, surveillance and border defence operations on the border between the US and Mexico in order to locate and drive back the many illegal immigrants entering the United States via that border.
Does the Commission agree that it is time to follow the United States’ lead and implement a policy of border surveillance and protection by deploying a specialized European military force which can take appropriate action to prevent the entry into European territorial waters of persons who are not entitled to do so and who largely come from countries in which the Ebola virus occurs?
But how really serious are on this error, within Europe, governments like, let’s say the Greek gov, on assessing the true dangers, and preventive react on such Emergency, before it is too late? Greece for example seems like if the problem has never hit its door.
Apart from the Emergency Preparedness for Ebola that is held by the truly experienced on Emergencies Greek CDC, no one says a word about the possible fears of illicit immigrants reaching the Aegean islands to be infected by Ebola , as if this possibility could not even exist . But how come, this awareness to exist even in Albania, for immigrants arriving there from African countries through Greece, and the Greek authorities not to say a single word .
- In August 15, the Newsweek Magazine revealed that Albanian police had detained 40 illegal immigrants from Africa and five of them had been kept under quarantine after exhibiting symptoms of Ebola, as Macedonian newspaper Vecer had reported, the Newsweek had wrote.
- These five, quarantined, illicit immigrants had illegally entered Europe via Greece, the article emphasized .
- Since early summer, when the Ebola spread was still on the rise, the threat of the nightmarish disease entering the Mediterranean societies, by the boats that carry hundreds illicit immigrants daily, evoked by strong rumors about the Pisa Hospital that had been closed and kept under quarantine, which where never declined scientifically , or politically, in a straight way.
While the Controlling Borders Guideline was the major WHO strategic for containing Ebola in Africa, since the early days of the disease spread, but, though, could not, and has not been accomplished in the African countries and their borders, with today’s frightening epidemic results, and even though, at this very moment, the Border Control for Ebola has reached, as a main issue, even the -far away, geographically,- borders of Mexico to the US, Greece, which happens to be just on one of the closest points of the West to the African hit countries by Ebola, has just ignored any trace of risk that might exist on her East Aegean sea, borders and land, which happens to be the most critical East -to- West Borders of Europe on bio- safety and safety levels
- On the Greek Lesvos island, on NorthEast Aegean where the iliicit immigrants are arrested and kept, as soon as they cross the sea borders, and are definitely not screened for Ebola, the detention of all these thousands of immigrants from the African countries, has been shaped on the most critical , summer months till now, by a “bipolar policy” practice. While the new detention center on Lesvos that is built by the government’s, and the European budgets, looks rather than a high-risk criminals’ jail than a detainee center, the alternative center that was used during the summer was almost open and free.
Iliicit Immigrants that had crossed the borders through the sea and were sent there to stay for months, does not mean they are screened for diseases, It just happened because the other detainee centers were overcrowded. They were kept there during the whole summer, -over six hundred of them in numbers-, a kind of open camp, used in the past for schoolkids vacations, and were,- arbitrarily, by the local authorities-, treated more like visitors rather than detainees, with personal cards from the campus that allowed them to walk in the community, shop, swim on the beach, and openly interact with the local community. Lately, the new Maire of Lesvos island has ordered this open shelters’ evacuation, for safety reasons, community sanity and hygiene, but the problem, has just moved even closer. To local residents and tourists.
- Today you see dozens of illicit immigrants staying openly at the islands’ port, and more importantly, you may easily travel with them on the boats to and from Athens and use even the same boat toilets with them .On Thursday, October 9, the Maire of Lesvos island, D. Gallinos, sent a furious letter to all the Greek Ministers the issue might concern, asking them to seriously protect Global Health Safety, local Safety and Travel Safety by facing seriously, just a simple picture: Undetected immigrants , undiagnosed, simply lying their life on the front of the islands’ port .. Who takes the responsibility of this phenomenon and major Risk? Who signs for the dozens of undetected immigrants to travel among citizens and tourists , on the same boats?
- No official answer has so far be given by the Greek government, even though Greek to me ! has first raised this story since June of 2014, leading to an instant reaction of the independent MP Vasilis Kapenaros who made formal question to the Greek Parliament, asking straight the Greek Ministers in charge, for not only the biological safety issues, by the error for Ebola coming first, but also for a live terrorism threat, since dozens of immigrants every day travel by the ferry boats with no escort of Greek police, undiagnosed and undetected.
- On Wednesday, the Authorities in Greece, have also warned of a three-fold rise in the number of immigrants entering the country this year, as the enet.gr wrote. The UNHCR urged the EU countries to provide ports for reception and to process asylum seekers’ applications, calling further the 28-member bloc to provide emergency financial aid to Italy, Greece, and Malta, to help them manage the wave of Syrian refugees making illegal sea crossings.
Isolated building has been prepared to ‘host’, as appropriate, virus outbreaks
A fully ecquiped Isolation Intensive Unit has been set on the Alert on Amalia Fleming Hospital in Athens Greece, to host any possible Ebola cases that might appear in Greece.
Contrary to the devastated Public Health Sector, and the Public Hospitals in Greece that are hit hard by the austeriy measures, the Emergency Preparedeness for Infectious Diseases in the country remains on top scientific international level, and top priority for the Greek Health authorities, coordinated by the Greek CDC, as to better protect the Global Health village . This, in Greece, has a historical background and a
Moreover, the group of health workers who will face the potential Ebola cases in Greece has been defined, and health workers are continiously trainned by day-to-day scientific updation as to better respond on possible cases handling, and better prevent any further infections
Scientific Guidance for health professionals have been issued by the Greek CDC (HCDCP) since the early days of August,and also Ebola protection Guidelines for Travelers of international flights and especially for Travellers to and from the infected Countries.
The President of the Greek CDC (HCDCP) Tzeni Kremastinou has seriously taken into consideration the Alert and Error level of the Ebola outbreak, as to early and straight address the risks to the public, and and has coordinated since July a special team of experienced professionals for the Emergency Response. Despite the seriousness of the Disease and the hard conditions of the Greek Pubic Health System the president of the Greek CDC has expressed her confidence that if any Ebola cases enter the country, they will be handled medically adequate at most .
Up to now, three cases in Greece have been identified as suspected, but have been later proved to be malaria infections and not Ebola, all of them concerning foreign travelers. Two of them, men, had recently traveled to Lagos Nigeria, and the third one was of a woman with recent travel history to Congo . Relatives of all three cases have been adequately traced before the final negative to Ebola/positive to malaria results, assured the Chief in Emergency Response for Ebola of the Greek CDC, Professor of Infectious Diseases, Sotiris Tsiodras
By the latest and continuous risk assessments of the international health organizations,
Greece’s risk for Ebola epidemic is characterized so far as small, due, mainly, to the lack of direct flights to and from the countries where the disease is endemic.
Greek Man’s Death in Greece prompts dengue scare in the country, hit also by West Nile virus and malaria, while a new malaria-dengue combo sets India on the Alert
An 80 year old man from Agrinio , Western Greece, died in hospital on August 30, after contracting fever , which seems the first endemic infection in the country since 1920. The Greek Center of Disease Control has already set his family under dengue infection control testing , as also does to other villagers who undergo Blood tests to check for a possible endemic source in Greece
Dengue fever is spread particularly by the Asian tiger mosquito which has increasingly been seen in Europe. but is also considered the main carrier of West Nile Virus, which emerged in Greece since 2010 , and since then, hundreds of infections, and also deaths, have been reported in Greece.
Although health officials believe the elderly man in western Greece had contracted dengue fever, they are describing it as a probable rather than a definite infection, because of the complications of the case.
There was evidence of West Nile Virus in his blood when he died in hospital in Patras, Greek CDC specialists report, but the dengue fever findings were stronger.
He also had an infection and low platelets (thrombocytopenia) –, both of them, symptoms of the dengue viral disease.
“We are dealing with a disease we haven’t seen for several decades,” said Dr Sotirios Tsiodras of the Greek Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It might be an isolated case but we want to make sure there are no further cases. We need to take it very seriously,” he said.
As well as blood tests, mosquito traps have been set up in Agrinio as part of an entomological investigation.
People getting dengue, malaria together
Dr Khusrav Bajan, intensivist at PD Hinduja Hospital, said: “There is one per cent chances for a dengue patient to get malaria and vice-versa. This year, surprisingly, we are seeing people infected with both these diseases. The numbers are few but this is something we have not seen earlier.”
Travelers visiting West Africa destinations are advised to get informed about the Ebola epidemic, in detail concerning the specific area the traveler is visiting.
Experts have said to the moment, that the risk to travelers is very low, reminding though, that there is no vaccine or medication for prophylaxis, nor does any effective treatment exist, so travelers are oblidged to protect themselves adequately.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a very rare but deadly viral infection with no carrier state of the incubation period. Once the virus infects the body, it requires 2 to 21 days of the disease to onset symptoms, which happens accutely and severely, most often fatally. Usually it starts by a sudden high fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, headache, fatigue and abdominal pain. Symptoms also include skin rash, sore throat and conjunctivitis.
As soon as the fever appears, the patient becomes infectious
The virus is transmitted from person to person through the contact of blood of the patients, and of the tissues and body fluids of patients or deceased, who had contracted hemorrhagic fever Ebola.
Infection also may be transfered by contact or reuse of contaminated needles of the patients.
The virus can also be transmitted through the contact of live or dead infected animals (eg monkeys).
Although Ebola virus human-to-humnan transmission through air droplets has never been reported in health care facilities, the use of mask and eye protection of the healthcare personel is considered mandatory for any case of clinical examination or treatment of patient with vomiting or respiratory symptoms
Measures for Travelers
The traveler is recommended to be aware of the Ebola ways of transmission and take all personal protective measures.
Therefore, direct contact with body fluids of patients, and also with tools or objects that have been used by patients should definitely be avoided .
Furthermore Greek CDC( HCDCP) recommends travellers to West Africa destinations to avoid contact with animals.
If you experience symptoms during your trip or shortly after returning from an African country whith reported Ebola cases, you should seek immediate medical attention and primarily inform the doctor about the symptoms and the county you visited .
The screening for Ebola hemorrhagic fever in asymptomatic travelers returning from Africa destinations or immigrants is not appropriate.