Italy Forced to Quarantine Migrants on Buses Due to Lack of Space

Migrants walk among tents, at improvised camp "Vucjak", in the outskirts of Northern-Bosni

Authorities in Udine and Tricesimo in the northeast of Italy have been forced to use buses as temporary quarantine areas for migrants due to a lack of space.

The temporary solution comes as the local migrant centre, a former barracks, has become full.

While migrants arrive in large numbers across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa, they continue to illegally enter the country along the Balkan route, as well.

Initially, the migrant buses were parked in the car park of a church in Tricesimo but were later moved after mayor Giorgio Baiutti demanded that an alternative be found, newspaper Il Giornale reports.

Baitutti also noted that of the 72 migrants who were supposed to be quarantined and tested, at least 25 had escaped. The mayor said that as a result, the area was not safe for locals.

The migrants were then moved south to Udine where 40 were taken to reception centres run by the Catholic charity Caritas. Thirty were forced to remain on board two buses while awaiting transfer to a migrant reception facility.

“We are looking for places to welcome refugees, a small disused hotel would be fine or a school no longer in use, a building with main services is also fine. The problem is that we’re not finding availability,” a local official said.

Space to quarantine the influx of new migrants is also sparse in the south of Italy, where a sixth ship has been deployed to help quarantine new migrants in case they test positive for coronavirus. Each of the vessels is said to cost taxpayers €50,000 (£45,000/$59,000) per day.

There are an estimated 537 migrants aboard the five ships currently in use for quarantine who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Onboard the Allegra ferry, off the coast of Palermo, there are 264 positive cases amongst the 798 migrants on board. On the Azzurra, located off the coast of Augusta, there are 157 cases out of 770 migrants. On the Rhapsody near Lampedusa, nearly half of the 113 migrants on board have coronavirus.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.