The Malta Independent 17 January 2020, Friday

Updated (5): One migrant dies, three Ebola tests negative, 84 quarantined

Thursday, 22 January 2015, 09:41 Last update: about 6 years ago

Ebola tests carried out on three migrants have turned out negative, the government said.

In a statement this evening, Mater Dei Hospital confirmed that precautionary tests carried out on the three patients who were among the group of migrants who landed in Malta this morning resulted negative to Ebola. One of the migrants died, of other causes. The other two are in critical condition.

84 migrants are still being kept in quarantine, the police said in a statement this evening.  

The Armed Forces of Malta rescued the migrants in Maltese territorial waters.

Others are believed to have died in the crossing, as migrants, from Sub-Saharan countries, have told rescuers that more migrants were originally on the vessel. The migrants said they were from Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.

Media personnel on site were kept 500 metres away from the landing site for safety reasons. Rescuers wore Ebola protective suits for precautionary reasons.

A decontamination tent was set up at Hay Wharf where the migrants landed. Water was distributed to the migrants while they were screened. Blankets were also provided.

Speaking during a press conference on the migrants’ condition in the early afternoon, Charles Mallia Azzopardi, who specialises in infectious diseases, said around 80 migrants have been quarantined, although none of them are showing signs of fever or other Ebola symptoms.

They will remain in quarantine for the duration of Ebola’s incubation period – 21 days. None of them have been tested for Ebola due to the lack of symptoms, he said.

Some migrants died on the dinghy during the crossing, and those who died were thrown overboard. The AFM however reported finding no bodies in the area where the migrants were rescued.

“We do not know where they come from exactly, information indicates they spent some months in Libya. This means the risk of them being infected with Ebola is very low,” Dr Mallia Azzopardi said.

He said the three migrants were hospitalised and were tested for Ebola as a precaution due to their critical condition, one of whome has passed away.

Photos Jonathan Borg

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