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Hundreds of rescued migrants taken to Italian port, including eight with COVID-19

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Hundreds of rescued migrants taken to Italian port, including eight with COVID-19
Copyright  Fabio Peonia/LaPresseFabio Peonia Photographer VIA AP
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A rescue ship carrying 422 migrants docked in the Sicilian port of Augusta on Sunday. Eight of the passengers tested positive for COVID-19 in health checks by the Italian authorities.

SOS Mediterranee, the humanitarian organisation that operates the vessel Ocean Viking, said Italy had granted permission to dock just as rain and strong winds were forecast.

The migrants had been rescued in separate operations in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya on Thursday and Friday.

Many of them were women and children. 424 were originally rescued but a pregnant woman and her companion were urgently airlifted to Malta on Saturday.

In a statement from the search and rescue coordinator on the ship, SOS Mediteranee said Covid-19 protocols were in place on board the Ocean Viking but that it was another reason for the remaining migrants to be promptly disembarked in a place of safety.