MSF teams in Italy are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and are working with migrants and people on the move.

Our current COVID-19 activities include working with marginalised people – migrants and Italian nationals included – to strengthen health and hygiene surveillance in squats and informal settlements in Rome. We also undertake health promotion and infection prevention and control measures in migrant reception centres in Sicily.

Elsewhere, we monitor the condition of migrants in transit along Italy's borders with France, Switzerland, and Slovenia; working with local organisations, we provide medical care, food and other essential items.

In July 2021, we started working once again in Lampedusa, Sicily, where three MSF teams provide medical and mental health care to survivors of shipwrecks and to people on the move who have recently arrived on the island by boat.

Our activities in 2020 in Italy

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020. 

MSF in Italy in 2020 When the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic shifted to Europe, MSF supported the response in Italy. We also continued to provide medical and psychological assistance to migrants.
Map of MSF activities in 2020 in Italy

Italy was the first European country to be hard hit by COVID-19. In early March, at the request of the health ministry, we started working in hospitals in Lombardy, the region with the highest number of cases, sharing our epidemic expertise in infection prevention and control, and patient care. We extended our activities to other regions, focusing on vulnerable groups. Our teams worked in care homes, prisons, migrant centres, shelters for the homeless, informal settlements and squats, supporting civil society groups providing assistance, and running multilingual health promotion and online mental health activities.  

Although our emergency response ended in July, we continued to carry out COVID-19 activities. On the outskirts of Rome, we supported the early detection and management of cases, while in Palermo, we responded to outbreaks in shelters for the homeless and migrant centres.  

In the summer, our team in Lampedusa, Sicily, responded to a sharp increase in the number of migrants arriving from Libya and Tunisia. For two months, we supported and trained national health service medical teams in triage at disembarkation and offered psychological first aid to people traumatised by experiences during their journey.  

Throughout the year, our teams continued to monitor the situation of migrants in transit at Italy’s northern borders. We denounced the dire living conditions, and the harsh treatment to which they were exposed, including physical abuse and pushbacks across the borders. We also worked with civil society groups to distribute relief items such as blankets and winter clothes.  


In 2020
Mediterranean migration

EU leaders orchestrating humanitarian crisis on Europe’s shores

Press Release 23 Jun 2015
Bourbon Argos 2nd rescue, June 1, 2015
Mediterranean migration

MSF saddened by loss of life during Argos ship rescue

Statement 15 Jun 2015
Dignity I ready to bolster operations in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean migration

MSF bolsters operations in the Mediterranean Sea

Press Release 13 Jun 2015
Psychological support in Ragusa

MSF provides psychological first aid to survivors of fatal sea crossing

Project Update 3 Jun 2015
Mediterranean MSF Search and Rescue Boat Preparations
Mediterranean migration

MSF reinforces its search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean

Project Update 9 May 2015
Boats from migrants arrival at Pozzallo Italy
Mediterranean migration

Seeing families, children, and babies coming off the boats

Voices from the Field 24 Apr 2015
Mediterranean migration

MSF calls for large scale search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean

Press Release 20 Apr 2015
Migrant Route Augusta Italy 2014

MSF assists migrants and asylum seekers rescued off Sicily

Project Update 4 Mar 2015
Stefano Di Carlo
Mediterranean migration

Interview with Stefano Di Carlo, MSF Italy Head of Mission

Voices from the Field 11 Feb 2015