Almost eighty percent of the recent illegal migrant arrivals to Malta — most of them from Eritrea, Sudan and Morocco — are infected with the coronavirus, conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reports.
According to a statement from the Maltese Health Ministry, 65 of the 95 migrants who arrived to Malta at the beginning of the week have tested positive to coronavirus.
The migrants were rescued after being at sea for almost 30 hours after their vessel began taking on water. They were taken to the Hal Far detention center, which was recently transformed to accommodate 150 people.
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Malta tripled in one fell swoop with the arrival of the migrants. The small Mediterranean island with 500,000 inhabitants previously had only 34 infections.
“Migrants arriving by boat are immediately quarantined for 14 days and tested. The migrants who are positive will continue to be isolated and the rest will remain in quarantine and followed up,” the health ministry said.
So far, nine people have died in Malta due to coronavirus.
The country previously locked down all its ports at the height of the crisis, including to all migrant rescue boats over fears arriving migrants could spread the virus. The country has since reopened its ports to migrants.