71 immigrants have spent 2 days on dock waiting for quarantine site
As we reported on Monday, resources due to the volume of immigrant arrivals to the Canary Islands, are overstretched and exhausted, which has left the 71 immigrants who arrived in two boats on Sunday in Gran Canaria, having to spend more than 48 hours in tents set up by the Red Cross at the Arguineguín dock, waiting for the Government Delegation to assign them a place to start quarantine.
Until a few months ago, immigrants who arrived on the coasts of the Canary Islands, or were intercepted in the waters around them, were taken directly to police stations, where they spent a maximum of 72 hours to have their details taken and their files opened.
With the emergence of Covid-19, the protocol has changed and the authorities refer newcomers to spaces set up, generally in port warehouses, for the first three days of procedures until they are assigned a resource of reception under the tutelage of an NGO, eg the Red Cross.
However, the increasing arrival of boats to the Canary Islands, and having to avoid mixing occupants of different boats in the same first reception centre to prevent cross infections, are complicating the system and generating situations such as this.
The Government delegate, Anselmo Pestana, has acknowledged that these people have had continue to stay at the Arguineguín dock in Red Cross tents, because the place enabled in Gran Canaria for the first hours of quarantine, a warehouse in the port of Las Palmas, is fully occupied by immigrants who arrived in another boat to the island on Saturday.
Pestana explained that the local Government has been working for a long time to create a stable network of reception places with state-owned buildings, to respond to this type of situation "in a less stressful and inhumane way."
At the Arguineguin dock, the head of Red Cross Immigration in the province of Las Palmas, José Antonio Rodríguez Verona, explained to the Efe news agency that these 71 people are waiting for the results of their PCR tests that they did on Monday, so that then the authorities will assign them a reception resource.
"We have the occupants two pateras on the dock at the moment. The first with 40 people who have been here from since Sunday at 3.30 in the morning, while the second arrived on Sunday at around 9.30am and there are 31 people from that one" he explained.
"These people have undergone the procedures of coronavirus testing and filiation tests to prove age and nationality, at the Arguineguín dock itself, because all the other facilities are full," he added.
In addition, the Red Cross confirmed that the warehouse in the Port of Las Palmas is fully occupied, and more people can not join this facility because they are under quarantine and, if interrupted, they would have to start a new one.
Verona pointed out that his organization is "very clear" that the increase in the arrival of boats began in September and October of 2019, so the forecast is that this "will surely be the same this year."
He explained that "They take advantage of calm tides to try to reach the Canary Islands, it is perfect sea conditions to sail and reach the coast," he stressed.