Migrants are escorted to the Favarolo wharf on the Italian island of Lampedusa | Photo: ANSA/Concetta Rizzo
Migrants are escorted to the Favarolo wharf on the Italian island of Lampedusa | Photo: ANSA/Concetta Rizzo

The transfer of 110 migrants hosted at the Lampedusa hotspot, who were to have left the island Thursday via ferry to Porto Empedocle, has been suspended after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19.

The scheduled transfer of 110 migrants from Lampedusa to Porto Empedocle has been suspended after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19. The vessel has been anchored in the Sicilian port since Wednesday evening and the man has been moved to isolation facilities while the other crew members are in quarantine on the ship.

The Lampedusa initial reception facilities – which have a maximum capacity of 250 – are currently hosting 691 migrants.

780 migrants in a single night

Niccolò Binello, a physician working with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), said 780 people arrived on Lampedusa overnight between August 23 and August 24.

Those arriving, many of them Bangladeshi or from sub-Saharan Africa, tend to have similar health complaints, Binello wrote on the NGO's website. Some show signs of having been beaten and even tortured, he added.

"Since we arrived on the island of Lampedusa on June 20 with a team of doctors, nurses, psychologists, and cultural mediators, we have assisted with the disembarking of about 10,000 people. Among them were almost 1,000 women and over a 100 children under age 5."

Common physiological conditions among the migrants include asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, according to Binello.

Lampedusa 'safe port' for German NGO Resqship vessel

On Wednesday (August 25), Lampedusa was assigned as a 'safe port' for the Nadir sailboat of the German NGO Resqship from Hamburg. Twelve Tunisians disembarked at the Favarolo wharf.

The previous night there had been two medical evacuations from the same ship of three people. They received a medical check before being taken to the hotspot on the island.

The same night Carabinieri intercepted 12 Tunisians along the road next to the Cala Francese beach, including three unaccompanied minors. The vessel used for the crossing has not been found.

A few hours later, motorboats from the port authority rescued three small boats intercepted off the island: first 25 migrants, then another 39, and then another 19.

On Wednesday morning, transfers of the migrants from the hotspot began: 114 via ferry to Porto Empedocle, while 160 have been taken onto the Aurelia quarantine ship, which managed to land at Cala Pisana. In the evening, another 80 left via ferry to Porto Empedocle.

 

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