Migrants stranded and without assistance due to COVID-19 lockdowns |


According to the International Organization for Migration (International Organization for Migration), The first year of the pandemic saw more than 111,000 travel restrictions and worldwide border closures at their peak in December.

The International Organization for Migration confirmed that these measures “impeded the ability of many people to pursue migration as a tool to escape from conflict, economic collapse, environmental disasters and other crises.”

In mid-July, nearly three million people were stranded, sometimes without access to consular assistance, nor the means to meet their basic needs.

In Panama, the UN agency said that thousands were trapped in the woods while trying to travel north to the United States. In Lebanon, migrant workers were greatly affected by the August 2020 bombing in Beirut and the ensuing upsurge in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Work as usual

The International Organization for Migration confirmed that border closures also prevented the displaced from seeking shelter, but not business travelers, who “continued to move somewhat freely”, including through agreed “green corridors”, such as those between Singapore and Malaysia. .

On the contrary, the International Organization for Migration said that those who left out of necessity – such as migrant workers and refugees – had to bear the exorbitant costs of quarantine and self-isolation, noting that in the first half of 2020, asylum applications decreased by a third, compared to the same Period a year ago.

Asymmetric restrictions

The International Organization for Migration said that as the coronavirus crisis continues, this distinction between those who can move and those who cannot will likely become clearer, “between those who have the resources and opportunities to move freely, and those whose movement has been severely restricted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Travel, related or pre-existing visas, and limited resources. ”

The potential for this inequality increases if travel is permitted for anyone who has been vaccinated or tested negatively for COVID-19, or for those with access to digital health records – which is impossible for many immigrants.

Health risks

The border closures have also reduced options for those who live in overcrowded camps at high altitude Corona Virus The report of the International Organization for Migration indicated infection rates in Bangladesh and Greece.

Meanwhile, in South America, many displaced Venezuelans in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil have lost their livelihoods and some have sought to return home – including through the services of smugglers.

More to track …
Bulletin Observer Health

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