Migrants test positive for coronavirus after arriving in Italy
The eight migrants were part of a group of 43 people aboard the humanitarian vessel Mare Jonio who disembarked at the Sicilian port of Augusta on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Mediterranea said in a statement that health authorities had informed them of the positive results, adding that the individuals represented no risk for the wider population as they were in quarantine, along with the remaining migrants and the crew.
"There should be no concern for our community because no possible contact will be allowed," said Mayor Corrado Bonfanti.
Sicily's regional president, Nello Musumeci, wrote on Facebook that requests to quarantine the migrants on a ship rather than on land had been rejected by the government as too expensive.
"And so they can stay at Noto, where they are. You heard correctly: in Noto, the pearl of our tourism," Musumeci wrote, adding that he would check whether ordering a red zone around the facility housing the migrants would be appropriate.
"Why the quarantine on dry land? Why is no one telling us about the real conditions in the Libyan camps? These are questions that Rome has a duty to answer," he wrote.
Far-right leader Matteo Salvini also attacked the government.
"The rest of Europe looks at us with pity, while the human traffickers rub their hands. The government? It's silent and sleeps," Salvini, head of the anti-immigrant League party, wrote on Facebook.
Also on Thursday, the charity vessel Ocean Viking, which has been waiting for more than a week for a port to take in 180 migrants on board, said two desperate migrants had jumped into the sea, but were rescued soon after.