Dozens of refugee children from the Greek islands flew from Athens and reached Hanover airport on Saturday morning.

The 47 minors are to be transferred from the northern German city of Hanover to the Osnabrueck area for a 14-day coronavirus quarantine.

The group is made up of 42 children and 5 young people, four of whom are accompanying younger siblings, according to the federal and state interior ministries. Four of the children are girls.

The Ministry of Migration in Athens initially had said 49 young people would be flown to Germany. However, alongside the 47 children, two were being brought back to their mother who lives in Germany, the German authorities said.

 The majority of the unaccompanied minors with an average age of 13 come from Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea, according to sources in the Ministry of Migration in Athens.

‘We are giving persecuted people the opportunity to restart,’ Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on state television.

His words were echoed by the federal and state interior ministers in Germany.

 ‘I am pleased that we are able to receive the first unaccompanied children today, despite the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis,’ said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

 The interior minister of Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, called the refugee children's arrival a ‘beginning.’  After their coronavirus quarantine, the children are to be distributed across Germany's federal states.

They are the second group of minors to be taken from the notorious camps on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos.

Already on Wednesday 12 young people were taken in by Luxembourg.

The plan provides for around 1,600 young people to be brought to other EU countries. A good 90 per cent of the minors are boys.

Some 39,000 people are currently staying in camps on the islands in the east of the Aegean. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), around 36 per cent are minors.

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