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At least 8,087 migrants have been landed in Italian territory since the beginning of the year.
Over the last 24 hours, at least 618 migrants who were navigating the Mediterranean have landed on Lampedusa island in precarious boats and humanitarian rescue ships. The overcrowding at the access point raised concerns regarding the prevention of COVID-19.
"Except for two exceptional cases with 95 and 268 people on board, all were mini-landings: small boats that evaded controls and landed directly on the island," agency ANSA reported, adding that a few dozen migrants are being transferred by authorities to different shelters.
The boat carrying 268 people was located near the Libyan coast by the humanitarian sighting plane Moonbird, as reported by Sea Watch, which launched an alert for the "extreme risk of shipwreck."
However, the migrants, almost all of them from Bangladesh, managed to get close to the Lampedusa's coast, where they were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and taken to port.
The boat our #Moonbird discovered yesterday arrived in Italian waters just before midnight and was rescued by two Italian patrol boats and brought to #Lampedusa. We are relieved that the 268 people on board were able to reach a safe place. pic.twitter.com/TYEjQdSLPp
During the early hours of Friday, another boat from Libya arrived in Italian waters with 95 people, most of whom were Bengali citizens who were transferred to the mainland by the Finance Guard, which also intercepted an inflatable raft carrying Tunisian migrants.
Additionally, the Mediterranean migrant aid service Alarm Phone warned about a dinghy with 25 people at risk of being wrecked near Malta.
"Authorities refuse to intervene. A rescue is needed now!," Alarm Phone said, as reported by EFE.
This unusual flow of migrants set a record for daily arrivals in Italy, where at least 8,087 people have been landed since the beginning of the year.