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Catalan police fears health crisis following influx of migrants

A Catalan police union fears the the "collapse of public services" would lead a health crisis linked to the flood of migrants into the region.

Published: October 1, 2018, 9:29 am

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    The union has requested that areas where foreign minors have been present be disinfected to avoid scabies outbreaks.

    They have demanded that “the appropriate orders” be given and advised not to mix work uniforms with daily clothes.

    The Catalan police union SME [Sindicato de Mossos d’Esquadra] has asked that “the appropriate orders” be given to “disinfect” all areas, vehicles and spaces where Unaccompanied Foreign Minors, MENA [Menores Extranjeros No Acompañados] have been present during recent weeks.

    They want an intervention by the health services against biological hazards such as scabies to be applied ex officio.

    In a public statement the association recalled the conditions that favor the appearance and spread of scabies, and explained the main symptoms.

    Scabies is a skin infestation caused by a mite known as the Sarcoptes scabiei. Untreated, these microscopic mites can live on the human skin for months, reproduce on the surface of the skin and then burrow into it and lay eggs. This causes an itchy, red rash.

    It is a highly contagious condition that can easily be passed from one person to another through direct skin contact. It may also be transmitted through infested clothing or bedding.

    Treatment often consists of medications that kill scabies mites and their eggs. Since scabies is so contagious, doctors will usually recommend treatment for an entire group of people who are in frequent contact with a person who has scabies.

    The union also warned officers not to mix their work uniforms with daily clothes, and to wash the former with water at 60ºC.

    The recommendation came after migrant minors had to sleep in police stations, both those of the regional and municipal Guardia Urbana police forces, due to the dire situation authorities have faced with migrant accommodation as the usual public reception services have collapsed.

    There have been more than 2 000 migrant arrivals in Catalonia since January 1, 2018, compared with a total of 1 489 for 2017, and 684 in 2016.

    Hotels, cottages, pensions, and rooms for rent have been contacted to adress the shortage of places to house “migrant children” traveling to Catalonia from Morocco .

    The collapse of the migrant reception system has led the Generalitat and social entities concerned to study all the possible options and they announced recently that six emergency centers will be opening their doors soon.

    The new facilities will be located in Barcelona, Camp de Tarragona, Terres de l’Ebre, Lleida and Girona to prevent police stations from being overrun.

    Recent images captured, show young people sleeping on benches and on the floor of facilities of the Mossos giving a glimpse to what extent the authorities have been saturated.

    “Generating a reception center takes between six months and a year, and we are creating one per week,” one official told Spanish news outlet ACN.

    The director of the migrant reception office DGAIA confirmed that the rate of creation of centers is now one per week. The director of the DGAIA estimated on Sunday, in an interview in RAC1, that thousands of Africans will arrive in Spain this year.

    The social entities also expressed their discontent after the Mossos d’Esquadra sent them directly to the centres without having previously passed through the screening centers, which is where they proceed with identification, a medical review and interviews to identify needs.

    They warned in addition that the great challenge was to have resources to accompany young migrants “once they turn 18”.

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