A total of 28 migrants out of 209 transported by the pro-migrant NGO Sea-Watch have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus after being placed in quarantine by Italian authorities.
The 209 migrants were brought from the search and rescuer (SAR) zone off the coast of Libya by the leftist NGO. They were placed aboard the Moby Zaza ferry off the coast of Sicily which Italy has been using to quarantine migrants for the past several weeks.
The 28 migrants with the Wuhan coronavirus were discovered after the Red Cross conducted swab tests, with the results of the tests announce on Wednesday morning, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.
Initially, one of the migrants, a man from Cameroon, had claimed to feel unwell over the weekend. Doctors initially believed he might have been suffering from tuberculosis, until the tests confirmed he had coronavirus.
Quarantined Migrants Costing Italy Over 4,000 Euros a Month Each https://t.co/nP5L6Br35q
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 14, 2020
President of Sicily Nello Musumeci said the cases proved the government was right to enact the quarantine measures for migrants, saying: “Anyone who has raved about accusing us of racism today will realise that we were right.”
Populist Senator Matteo Salvini, an ardent critic of pro-mass migration policies, launched an attack on the Sea Watch NGO and the Italian government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. He said: “While the government plans to dismantle the security decrees and open the ports, NGOs bring COVID-19-positive immigrants to Italy.”
Sea Watch, meanwhile, has claimed that none of their crew has tested positive for coronavirus. The NGO said: “We are aware of operating in a pandemic context, and we have been preparing for months to develop and adapt the relevant health procedures. But we cannot escape the duty — which should be that of European governments and not of civil society — to help these people.”
Greece has also had fears that illegal migrants will arrive infected with coronavirus. Some have alleged Turkey may purposely send migrants to Greece who may be infected with the disease. Last month, Greece saw several migrants arrive on the island of Lesbos who later tested positive for the Chinese virus.