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Measles hits Berlin refugee centre, 600 quarantined

A refugee arrival centre in the Reinickendorf district of Berlin was quarantined on Monday due to an outbreak of measles.

The roughly 600 residents were not allowed to leave the building for the time being, the spokesman of the State Office for Refugee Affairs, Sascha Langenbach, told dpa.

There were two children diagnosed with the highly contagious illness as of Monday, according to the report.

“It is difficult to further restrict the freedom of movement of people who are already living in cramped conditions there,’’ Mr Langenbach said.

Mr Langenbach added that a number of things would have to be checked in coordination with the health department.

The issues that required investigation included checking who among the refugees had been vaccinated against measles and the age of the residents.

To explain the situation to the people, language mediators who spoke Turkish, Arabic, or Farsi would be employed.

According to Mr Langenbach, precautionary measures have been put in place to protect the residents.

“The health department has made masks compulsory,’’ he said.

Mr Langenbach added that this was a tough measure but that safety comes first and that the distribution of food and hygienic supplies is still guaranteed.

The office building and the emergency overnight stays located on the premises were reportedly not affected by the quarantine.

Asylum seekers in Berlin could continue to be accommodated in the initial reception centre at Oranienburger Straße 285, Mr Langenbach said.

(dpa/NAN)