Over two-thirds of a group of 94 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by Malta have tested positive for COVID-19, with the tests of nine others pending, Maltese health authorities said on Tuesday.
The migrants were rescued by the Maltese coastguard on Monday night and were all isolated and tested upon arrival, a statement said.
So far, 65 migrants had tested positive for the coronavirus while 20 tested negative.
The Alarm Phone charity reported that the boat had been at sea for over 30 hours before they were picked up.
"The migrants who are positive will continue to be isolated at the Hal Far Initial Reception Centre and the rest will remain in quarantine and followed up," the government statement read.
The number of positive cases means that Malta's total of active cases has shot up to 99.
The number of cases spiked over the weekend owing to a cluster of 18 cases connected to a weekend-long party which was held at a resort hotel.
When the pandemic was at its height, Malta closed its ports to all traffic – including rescued migrants.
As a result, over 400 migrants were held aboard four tourist boats before being allowed into the country when some migrants threatened to revolt against the crew.