A migrant in the tent camp set up on the outskirts of Trieste for the mandatory quarantine of new arrivals, due to coronavirus | Photo: ANSA/MAURO ZOCCHI
A migrant in the tent camp set up on the outskirts of Trieste for the mandatory quarantine of new arrivals, due to coronavirus | Photo: ANSA/MAURO ZOCCHI

Authorities in the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia are concerned about a new increase of irregular migrants in the area, coming from Slovenia through the Balkan route. In 12 hours between Monday and Tuesday, about 140 migrants were registered.

In 12 hours between Monday and Tuesday this week, about 140 irregular migrants were registered in Trieste. 

The migrants crossed the border between Slovenia and Italy at various points in the Karst Plateau, and arrived at different times starting at 4 am Monday. 

The first to arrive was a group of about 70 people, intercepted by the Trieste border police in the area between Pesek and Basovizza. Subsequently, police officers found other migrants who arrived little by little.

Three were seen in the Basovizza area, then another nine, another six, and so on. All of the migrants underwent identification procedures and were then transferred under the direction of the prefecture to various facilities, including tents, where they will remain for a period of mandatory quarantine. 

Fedriga says allowing arrivals now is unacceptable 

The governor of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Massimiliano Fedriga, commented on the new arrivals registered in Trieste. "Already during normal times the situation must absolutely be fought, but in a time of a health emergency, allowing irregular migrants to enter is unacceptable," Fedriga said. 

"Law enforcement is making an enormous effort, but we need to take action on a national level with the Slovenian government, the Croatian government, and the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and say 'enough': we can't become a European border when we aren't. With a great sense of responsibility I spoke with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, and she told me that she will intervene hard on this type of lack of prevention by countries on the route," Fedriga said. 

"There's a limit to everything. These numbers are unsustainable," he said. 

Five Afghans found in a lorry, including a minor 

The topic of new arrivals to Italy through the Balkan route is particularly concerning to local Italian authorities, including in light of the coronavirus emergency. One of the most recent episodes involved a patrol by the Trieste border police, as part of the "safe streets" campaign. 

Last Saturday, the officers uncovered five irregular migrants who were attempting to enter Italy illegally on a lorry from Serbia. The police made a traffic stop on the evening of May 9, and during the inspection, officers became suspicious about voices they clearly heard coming from inside the lorry. 

They proceeded to make a more detailed inspection. With the assistance of the local fire department and an emergency doctor from the local Trieste health department, the officers entered the covered area of the lorry, where they found the five migrants. 

The men were all from Afghanistan, and one was a minor. The small group had created a sort of niche among the large boxes in the lorry in order to avoid being discovered during customs checks. The migrants were all in good health and underwent identification procedures. All of them expressed their desire to ask for international protection. 

In accordance with the most recent decree on coronavirus, they were transferred to specific facilities where they will undergo a mandatory quarantine period.

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