Malta rescues migrants

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A group of 112 North African migrants was rescued from a sinking dinghy and landed in Malta supervised by troops in protective clothing against possible coronavirus infection, authorities said.

The dinghy was spotted in Malta’s search and rescue region north of Libya on Saturday. Those on board included women and children. The armed forces said their nationalities was not immediately known.

Maltese soldiers who transferred them to a patrol boat wore special suits to protect them from possible coronavirus infection. All migrants were given a medical checkup on landing before boarding buses to be taken to a reception centre.

Malta has seen a surge of migrant arrivals this year. About 1 500 arrived by early March, compared to 3 400 for last year.

Italy has also seen a sharp annual rise since the start of the year. Arrivals fell off since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in northern Italy  last month, with 43 arrivals recorded to date in March.