Migrants walking along the Roja river, near Ventimiglia in northwest Italy, toward the French border | Photo: ANSA/Chiara Carenini
Migrants walking along the Roja river, near Ventimiglia in northwest Italy, toward the French border | Photo: ANSA/Chiara Carenini

The prefect of Imperia, a town in northwestern Italy, has said that the Roja camp for migrants in the Ventimiglia area near the French border has not been closed and still hosts 120 people. However, after three cases of COVID-19 in recent months, no more migrants will be allowed in.

The prefect of Imperia, a town in northwestern Italy, told ANSA this week that the Roja camp for migrants had not been closed but that no one had been allowed to enter since May 6 to prevent a COVID-19 infection cluster.

Prefect Alberto Intini said that "the guests can leave for a few hours for a walk but they must return for lunch, dinner and overnight, otherwise they will not be allowed to re-enter." The measure was to prevent the center from becoming a 'hotel' or a springboard toward France.

"Those without papers must be deported," Intini said. He also stressed that the center will not receive any more migrants until the pandemic is over and that three cases of COVID-19 had been found in the camp in recent months: While one person was hospitalized, the other two spent the quarantine period in the camp.

Entrances and exits no longer allowed

"Those wanting to submit a request for international protection can do so by going to the police station," where they will be directed to a reception center, the prefect added in response to Ventimiglia mayor Gaetano Scullino's recent call for reopening the center after heightened migrant flows toward France.

"Given the health risks, entrances and exits can no longer be allowed," Intini said.

120 foreigners hosted in center 

The prefect also announced a provincial committee and a regional summit to be held with all prefects in the Liguria region to discuss the issue of migrant flows.

According to Intini, the center currently hosts around 120 foreigners; the transfer of those requesting international protection had been postponed, he added.

"In agreement with the local health authority, a decision was made not to allow people into the facilities whose health record we are not familiar with. We should, actually, put them all in quarantine, but we do not have the space," Intini noted.
 

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