Over 450 boat migrants were due to be held for medical surveillance aboard the 'Rhapsody' quarantine ship on Friday after undergoing COVID-19 tests upon their arrival on Lampedusa in the past 36 hours, local officials said.
The migrants include children, pregnant women and unaccompanied minors and arrived aboard eight boats, according the officials. The tiny southern Italian island is currently hosting over 940 migrants from "various" countries, the officials said.
A total 8,162 migrants reached Italy by boat this year, a sharp increase from 2,794 over the same period of 2020, according to interior ministry figures published on Friday.
The largest number of migrants who landed in Italy in 2021 were Tunisians (1,152) followed by Cote d'Ivorians (1,019), Guineans (697) and Bangadeshis (620) the interior ministry figures show.