Watch: Rescued migrants tested negative for coronavirus, Public Health Superintendent says

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci said that none of the individuals rescued last week by the Armed Forces of Malta tested positive for coronavirus.

Replying to a question by Newsbook.com.mt, Professor Gauci explained that the migrants that were rescued at the same time a cabinet meeting was underway to agree upon a ban on migrant landings, had been subjected to a medical screening and were also tested for coronavirus. The group of migrants subsequently tested negative for coronavirus. The asylum seekers were placed in detention under quarantine.

Professor Gauci explained that the health authorities will continue to follow the migrants to ensure that they are in good health and to provide them with any medical care if the need arises.

The Superintendent of Public Health referred to the work currently being carried out by Red Cross which has set up a field clinic at Ħal Far and is monitoring the situation at Ħal Far ‘Tent Village’. The residents have been all placed under mandatory quarantine after some had tested positive to coronavirus. The health authorities in collaboration with the NGO is carrying out random swabbing of the local community to detect and isolate any cases.

70 individuals were rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta last week. The government then announced that no NGO boats would be allowed to disembark any rescuees in Malta and declared that the ports were ‘unsafe’ in an unprecedented move amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The government said that the decision was taken during a cabinet meeting. Further, the government also warned that it could not guarantee any sea rescue.

Various non-governmental organisations working in the human rights field have called on the government to uphold its international obligations in a joint statement.

Between Friday and Saturday two rubber boats were adrift in the Maltese search and rescue region. However, the boats have not been assisted.

The government stood by its decision not to carry out sea rescue operations. During several meetings held with the ambassadors of various states to Malta, the government has reiterated that it was no longer possible to rescue asylum seekers who were being illegally sent to Malta by smugglers.

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