The migrant transport NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans has brought another 43 migrants to Italy from North Africa, and eight have so far tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus.
The migrants were brought to the Sicilian town of Augusta by the NGO’s vessel the Ionian Sea. Local authorities tested them for the Chinese virus, and the governor of Sicily Nello Musumeci announced the results on Thursday.
“Of the 43 immigrants landed in Augusta, eight tested positive for coronavirus. They are in Noto and not on a ship in the bay as the Sicilian government had asked; the state says that the ship is too expensive,” Musumeci said, according to Il Giornale.
He went on to add: “Why was the quarantine on the mainland? Why does nobody inform us about the real conditions of the camps in Libya? These are questions that Rome has a duty to answer.”
NGO Doctor: Rescuing Migrants More Important Than Coronavirus Worries https://t.co/k6ODEK6mao
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 15, 2020
Mediterranea Saving Humans confirmed the eight cases of coronavirus. They released a statement saying: “The crew of the Ionian Sea ship is now at anchor in the port of Augusta, already in quarantine.”
The incident is the second time a migrant transport NGO has brought migrants infected with the coronavirus to Italy in recent weeks. Last month, the NGO Sea-Watch brought a total of 209 migrants to Italy, 28 of which later tested positive for the virus.
Several migrant transport NGOs have resumed activities in the last few weeks including SOS Mediterranee, a French NGO that is said to have picked up 180 migrants in the last several days and will also be heading to Italy soon.
Italian Island Locals Vote to End Migrant Landings https://t.co/AoFTR5VSPm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 30, 2020
In April, a doctor working for Sea-Eye made it clear she believed picking up migrants and bringing them to Europe was more important than the risks of coronavirus. She said: “Facing people who run away from torture, coronavirus takes second place. I think we all accepted the risk.”
Italians on the island of Lampedusa, meanwhile, voted to stop migrant landings and want to close a local migrant camp as their island continues to see fresh flows of migrants.