The coronavirus has left the Mediterranean without boats these two weeks. With 439 immigrants registered in the first half of March aboard 18 vessels, according to the Ministry of the Interior, traffic has been completely paralyzed since day 15, at least for the purposes of the Maritime Rescue media, which have not had to perform any rescue.
Behind it, apart from other elements, is the confinement to stop the virus decreed in Morocco, where going out without an official safe-conduct has criminal consequences and surveillance has multiplied. The least recommended scenario to move groups to the beaches and launch them across the sea. Brussels agreed on Friday to grant Rabat 150 million euros to continue fighting the pandemic and announces “all possible flexibility” to free another 300 committed the country.
Unlike the inactivity on this road, with the health crisis already declared, the arrival of boats of immigrants continues to the environment of the Canary archipelago, although without the intensity of months ago.
In the first days, two were located, with 84 people in total, but the flow to the islands stopped on March 5, coinciding with a Saharan dust storm that hinders any journey by sea. After this, a first boat returned on the 20th, until Saturday four more were helped and yesterday there were three on the same day with 70 people on board.
In absolute terms, this second fortnight of March has been resolved, therefore, with the presence of vessels exclusively on the Atlantic route, eight, carrying 247 immigrants on them. Added to two in the first half, they give a migratory result of 10 boats with 331 occupants, in provisional data, which is a significantly low figure compared to previous months. In January, according to Interior statistics, there were 708 irregular entries in the archipelago in 23 boats and in February 473 in another 17.
The vacuum of boats on the islands between days 5 and 15 has served to reduce occupation in the Internment Centers, which as of Tuesday was 25 of its 268 seats in Tenerife and 69 of 168 in Las Palmas, although undoubtedly the latest bailouts will have translated into new income. In the first of these CIEs, that of Hoya Fría, the contagion by coronavirus of a police officer, the first infected that is detected throughout the network of this type of centers destined to house immigrants who are candidates for expulsion, was confirmed on Thursday. After this positive, the test was carried out on four immigrants from the facility who, like all the others, have an isolation room prepared in case it is necessary.
Below January and February
In the absence of two days until the end of the month, in unconsolidated figures it can be deduced that this March, when the pandemic will be fully unleashed in Italy and then penetrate Spain, it will be resolved with migration figures significantly below those registered in the This year -1,850 arrived by sea in January, 1721 in February- and, again, sustained in the traffic that goes to the Canary Islands.
Morocco multiplies efforts to also block the exits from its coasts to this route, as evidenced by the publication of the arrest on March 11 -a day before Rabat closed its ports and airports due to the virus- of 45 sub-Saharan people on the beach from Dahla, 600 kilometers south of the Canary Islands. Given this vigilance, boats rescued for the archipelago are believed to be increasingly leaving Mauritania or Senegal. .