Petr Torák: The COVID-19 pandemic is getting worse in Britain, dozens of Roma are returning to the Czech Republic
"My family and I seriously considered returning to the Czech Republic, at least for some time, because we are concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and the insufficient measures being taken against it here in Great Britain. However, because we don't own our own apartment in the Czech Republic where we could stay until we would no longer be carriers of infection, and what's more, because we would have to move in with our parents, we prefer to remain in England," said Petr Torák, MBE, a Romani emigré from the Czech Republic who used to work as a police officer in Peterborough and who now directs the KOMPAS organization there, in an interview for ROMEA TV.
"Now what is essential is the outreach and work we are doing in our organization. However, dozens of Romani people are leaving Great Britain," he said, describing the current situation in England and how it is losing the fight against COVID-19.
"The Czech and Slovak Roma are some of the few people even wearing face masks here in Peterborough. More than 6 000 Romani people have been living here, dozens of whom have already returned to the Czech Republic or to Slovakia, and others will follow them home because the situation here is deteriorating," he explained.
KOMPAS is now doing its best to prepare Romani people planning to move home for the fact that quarantine awaits them in their home countries, because many have no idea what that entails. "The Romani people leaving here are those who have built up a life for themselves here, they work and their children are studying. These are not people on welfare, it's impossible to enjoy that kind of support here for long," he said.
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