20 March 2020 Sea crossing in the Mediterranean up to 15,000 in the first three months of 2020

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports an increase of 50% in the number of migrants and refugees arriving by sea to Europe from January to mid-March 2020, as compared to the same period in 2019. The three Mediterranean routes gathered 14,854 arrivals in the first quarter of the year, half of them through the Eastern route linking Turkey to Greece. Compared to 2019, this route registered an increase of 55%, while the Western one, linking North Africa to Spain, dropped by 30%. The Central route, leading to Italy and Malta, recorded 3,873 arrivals, seven times as many as in the same period of 2019. These numbers show a change in the trends observed at the beginning of 2020, when there was a 15% drop in the number of arrivals as compared to 2019. Regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on sea crossing, the IOM Spokesman Joel Millman stated that no sudden change has been reported due to the pandemic: “people aren’t less likely to migrate because of this pandemic, and they’re not more likely to be running away from Africa because of this pandemic”, he asserted on an interview to UN News.