As the Lampedusa hotspot becomes more overcrowded, Italian regional governors are protesting the transfer of migrants who arrived on the island to their regions. Meanwhile, a quarantine ship docked at Lampedusa is to take around 250 migrants on board.
The migrant hotspot on the Italian island of Lampedusa, which has a maximum capacity of 190 people, is currently bursting at the seams with more than 1,000 people.
The Italian interior ministry is transferring the migrants in small groups to various regions throughout the country. However, the number of regional governors calling for a stop to the transfers is on the rise, as they are facing difficulty managing the migrants amid rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Increasing landings on Lampedusa
In recent days, six landings with a total of 240 migrants took place on Lampedusa. The island is "under assault," Sicily Governor Nello Musumeci said. "But according to Rome, it doesn't deserve the declaration of a state of emergency."
"I'm asking Premier Conte to at least explain why? What did the people of Lampedusa do that was so vile that they must now endure this wave by themselves?" the governor added.
Migrants are also being taken to northern Italian regions as far as Piedmont, with 76 migrants from the island to be transferred to Castello di Annone. But Piedmont Governor Alberto Cirio said he's had enough.
Protests in Sardinia, fear of COVID-19
Sardinia Governor Christian Solinas is opposed to the transfer of migrants from an initial reception center in Monastir on Sardinia to a facility 50 kilometers to the north in Tonara.
"There is the concrete danger that the virus can spread across the island, and we are strongly against this," Solinas said. "These people, who aren't fleeing any war, must be immediately repatriated," he said.The interior ministry was counting on a quarantine ship, the "Aurelia", to help alleviate the pressure on the local territory from the arriving migrants and the task of having to conduct COVID-19 tests on them.
On Wednesday, the ship docked successfully and 250 migrants from the island's hotspot were expected to board.