Roma (dpa) - Rescuers in the central Mediterranean conducted 40 operations on Thursday, picking up 4,500 migrants and recovering the body of a woman from a dinghy, the Italian Coastguard said.
A coastguard spokesman, who did not want to be named, told dpa that rescue operations were still ongoing and that figures were not yet final.
He said numbers were high because adverse sea conditions in the past eight days had temporarily halted departures from Libya, creating a backlog that smugglers have now started to clear up.
"We got in a day the number of arrivals we normally record in a week, as it often happens after periods of bad weather," the official said.
Data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), updated Wednesday, showed that in the June 15-22 period there had been only 785 migrant landings in Italy, down 87 per cent compared to the previous seven days.
Since the start of 2016, Italy has recorded 55,563 migrant arrivals, according to the IOM's tally, which excludes Thursday's data.