A report by SaharaReporters has shown that a Nigerian migrant has escaped from a “welcome centre” in Messian, Italy where about 116 migrants were tested for COVID-19 and being quarantined to control the spread of the virus in the country.
The Nigerian, according to Italian newspaper, II Giornale, tested positive for one of the “most rare variants of SARS COV 2” but it is not clear yet whether the Nigerian has been found.
The 116 migrants, after several days at sea, were rescued by the Ocean Viking at the end of last week and over the weekend taken to the Sicilian port of Augusta. Six persons had initially tested positive for COVID-19.
There was "relief on board" the Ocean Viking on March 23, when the crew and the rescue organisation SOS Mediterranee got the message that they had been assigned a port in which to disembark the 116 migrants.
According to SOS Mediterranee, the weather had been rough with "strong wind and high waves." In total, the Ocean Viking crew had made five requests for a port of safety to the Italian and Maltese authorities before being assigned the port of Augusta on Sicily.
On Tuesday night, SOS Mediterranee tweeted that disembarkation had been completed.
All 116 rescued people, including 51 unaccompanied minors, were tested for COVID-19 by Italian health authorities," the tweet explained.
According to the local Italian newspaper La Sicilia, the 51 unaccompanied minors had been taken to a centre in Trapani, the adults will be asked to quarantine on board the ferry Allegra and those who tested positive will be put into isolation.
The right-wing press, like the newspaper Il Giornale, has also been reporting on the latest disembarkation, trying to link the few positive cases of COVID to alarm among the Sicilian population and the fear of being infected with new variants.
According to Il Giornale, on Tuesday a Nigerian migrant "escaped from a welcome centre in Messina" when found to be infected with Coronavirus. Il Giornale said it was "one of the most rare variants of Sars Cov 2," without clarifying which one that might be.
According to La Sicilia, most of the migrants who disembarked from the Ocean Viking came from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, but about 10 of them were also originally from Libya.