A police officer with migrants hosted at the center of Monastir, in Sardinia | Photo: ANSA
A police officer with migrants hosted at the center of Monastir, in Sardinia | Photo: ANSA

More than 30 migrants at a facility on the Italian island of Sardinia have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a local police union leader. COVID-19 patients are reportedly living together with other migrants at the center.

Luca Agati, the provincial leader of the Sap police union in Cagliari, Sardinia, warned on Tuesday that 33 migrants had tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the overcrowded CPA reception center in nearby Monastir.

According to Agati, the CPA houses a total of 232 people -- 195 "irregular" migrants and 37 asylum seekers. He said that people who had tested positive were living together with people who had tested negative, "creating situations of extreme danger."

The union leader also said that tensions were running high at the center. "There are brawls every day, attacks and violent quarrels," he said.

Agati said his union had asked the local police authorities for months to provide medical exams, coronavirus tests and antibody tests "for police officers who have come into contact with irregular migrants who have tested positive for COVID." He said the risk for officers to become infected and infect their families "is very high and yet we are crashing against a wall of silence."

Call for quarantine ships

Another local police union chapter -- FSP Polizia Cagliari -- asked the city's prefect to take action. Spokesperson Alessandro Congiu requested "urgent measures to identify appropriate locations (e.g. quarantine ships) to isolate infected people and quarantine them." He also called for antibody tests for all migrants and asylum seekers at the facility.

Congiu also said that "the outbreak could become very serious also because individuals who have been identified as positive to COVID-19 could flee, putting at risk the health of citizens in Monastir and police operators in charge of security [at the CPA.]"


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