21 out of 57 migrants who arrived illegally in the Italian town of Roccella Ionica in Calabria have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus.
The migrants landed in Italy on Saturday night and consisted mostly of Iranian and Iraqi nationals, some of them underage. They were tested for the Wuhan coronavirus, and at least 21 were found to be positive.
The results come as Italian interior minister Luciana Lamorgese claimed that migrants were not bringing coronavirus to Italy and that the proportion of migrants that had tested positive for the virus was small in comparison to the total number arriving, Il Giornale reports.
“I have seen precise figures from arrivals centres: out of 56,000 people, the positives are 2.17 per cent — about 1,238,” Ms Lamorgese told Italian media over the weekend.
Italy has seen a surge in new arrivals in recent months, and many have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, including those brought to the country by migrant taxi NGOs operating off the coast of Libya.
NGO Claims Around Half of Migrants on Paris Streets May Be Coronavirus Positive https://t.co/C7a0duwx0N
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 8, 2020
In April, a doctor working with the German NGO Sea-Eye went as far as saying that bringing migrants to Europe was more important than fears of spreading the coronavirus.
“Facing people who run away from torture, coronavirus takes second place. I think we all accepted the risk,” Italian doctor Caterina Ciufegni said.
The country has also seen major problems with keeping migrants under lockdown in facilities after they have arrived in Italy.
Sicily has seen many migrants escape reception centres under quarantine, such as in the town of Siculiana where local authorities essentially allowed them to roam free after they had broken out in July.
Earlier this month in neighbouring France, the NGO Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF) warned that as many as half of the migrants living on the streets of the Paris region could also be coronavirus positive.