Transfer of migrants from the commercial port aboard patrol boats to a quarantine ship,  Lampedusa, Sicily, September 25, 2020 | Photo: Elio Desiderio / ANSA
Transfer of migrants from the commercial port aboard patrol boats to a quarantine ship, Lampedusa, Sicily, September 25, 2020 | Photo: Elio Desiderio / ANSA

After a three-week-long lull, landings have resumed on the Italian island of Lampedusa. A total of 37 landings were reported between Saturday and Sunday October 10-11 which brought the arrival of over 800 migrants.

Landings resumed over the weekend on the island of Lampedusa. After three weeks of calm, the migrant hotspot on the small Sicilian island is once again overcrowded.

The situation is not as alarming as on September 21, when the center in Imbriacola hosted 1,200 people in a space originally designed to house 200. However, the situation is critical after 824 migrants reached Lampedusa with 37 landings over the weekend, including 22 on Sunday.

All migrants, mainly Tunisian citizens, were tested for COVID-19. Eight tested positive, health authorities said. A total of 308 people were taken to the Snav Adriatico quarantine ship off Cala Pisana.

Another quarantine vessel, the Allegra, is hosting 136 migrants.

Interior minister: Migrants are 'not bringing COVID'

Concern for the spread of coronavirus is high on the island after two teachers and at least four students at the local elementary school 'Luigi Pirandello' tested positive for COVID-19.

The school on October 12 remained closed for disinfection. Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese reassured the population."Migrants are not bringing COVID [to Italy]," she said, recalling that soldiers were deployed to Sicily not for the coronavirus emergency "but because there are [so] many arrivals."

Lamorgese cited the latest data on centers of first arrival: "Out of the 56,000 people present only 2.7% tested positive."

Landings in other areas of Italy too

New arrivals are not concentrated on Lampedusa, but also along the Ionian coast in the Calabrian Locride area, where seven landings were reported in the eight days leading up to October 11.

The latest arrival bringing 57 Iranians and Iraqis was registered in the early hours of October 11 at the port of Roccella Jonica, in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

Many landings were also registered on the island of Sardinia where 27 migrants arrived on Saturday and over 20 Algerians on Sunday.

The situation, said the leader of the anti-immigrant League party, Matteo Salvini, is "the latest failure of an incompetent government that talks about humanity but forgets the death of a minor aboard a quarantine ship."

 

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