The migrants reached the island of Lampedusa on August 3, 2020 from North Africa | Photo: ANSA/Alessandro Di Meo
The migrants reached the island of Lampedusa on August 3, 2020 from North Africa | Photo: ANSA/Alessandro Di Meo

The Tuscan chapter of Italian labor union UIL has denounced that "no procedure to control all workers" was launched at a CAS reception center for asylum seekers after a coronavirus outbreak was reported there.

The association managing the CAS reception facility for asylum seekers Casa Betania in Bonascola, in the Tuscan city of Carrara, "did not activate procedures to control all workers," the leader of labor union UIL Fpl Nord Toscana, Claudio Salvadori, said on August 13. 

A total of 21 coronavirus cases had been reported at the center on August 8.

"We want urgent answers because what is going on is only the tip of the iceberg of incorrect behavior by the association," Salvadori said.

He said he had written to the association's management to ask for clarifications on their allegedly incorrect handling of the emergency, quoting as a source one of its employees, who is a union member.

'Infections could spread like wildfire'

Salvadori said the union member, who works at the migrant center, "contacted us because he was alarmed by what was going on. In fact, he has worked in several CAS (centers) including the one in Bonascola where the COVID-19 outbreak was reported."

Infections, he went on to say, "could spread like a wildfire, including to other provinces, given that our member has moved from one center to another, entering in contact with dozens and dozens of people."

Salvadori explained that, "despite the serious emergency, we have been told that no adequate procedures were put in place."

'Containment measures are necessary'

The union leader condemned the association's management, saying that "national and regional laws approved to counter the epidemiological emergency caused by COVID-19 provide for the adoption of specific measures of contain the virus."

"Those who have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case must be reported to (local health authority) USL which will evaluate the case and take the appropriate measures, from isolation to testing. As of today, in the absence of urgent measures, the worker, who is one of our members, has taken personal action with our support."

Salvadori said that the union was asking for urgent clarifications from the center's management and for "meeting as soon as possible with the managers of Casa Betania, when safety conditions will allow it." 

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