Situational Brief: Newly Arrived Migrants & Asylum Seekers in Italy during the Covid-19 pandemic

Emelurumonye I. N., A. Miglietta Lancet Migration (2020) CC
On 30thJanuary 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the People’s Republic of China to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) under the international Health Regulations. The following day, the Italian Government declared a state of emergency, stopping all flights to and from Chinese airports. 1.2On 7th April the foreign, interior, transport and health ministers signed a decree under theInternational Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue stating that Italian ports could no longer be classified as places of safety for foreign naval units, including NGO-run migrantrescue ships, operating outside the Italian Search and Rescue (SAR) area. Despite the national lockdown and the closure of ports to international rescue vessels in the Mediterranean Sea, small ships departing from Libya and Tunisia have continued to sail towards the Italian coastline. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), during the period 1stJanuary –12thApril, 2020 there were an estimated 3,229 sea arrivals in Italy