According to Greek government sources illegal migration flows have come to a near standstill, noting huge decreases since the coronavirus outbreak.
Specifically, 2,773 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece in April 2019, compared to 76 in April 2020. In May 2019, 3,141 people arrived in Greece, compared to 204 in May 2020.
The decrease represents a drop of 97.26% in April 2020 compared to April 2019, and a drop of 91 % in May, year on year.
Government sources suggested that residents of reception centres had dropped by 15% from the beginning of the year to the present, with 13,000 individuals transferred from the islands to the mainland as of January 1. The high migration flows of January and February have been absorbed.
“Today, at the 5 islands, there are 36,276 migrants and refugees, compared to 42,000 early in January,” they said, referring to the islands with the highest numbers of migrants (alphabetically, Chios, Kos, Leros, Lesvos and Samos).
In terms of refugee status applications, sources said these had accelerated. From nearly 4,000 decisions issued on average in 2019, there were up to 7,000 in March 2020 and 16,000 in April.
In 2020, a total of 7,591 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece by sea. The majority are from Afghanistan (40%), Syria (25%) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (9%). More than half of the population are women (23%) and children (37%), while 40% are men.
Lesvos received the majority (44%) of all new arrivals, during 2020, followed by the Dodecanese islands (22%), Samos (18%), Chios (13%) and other islands (3%).