Mobility Impacts COVID-19 Methodology


Apr 23 2020 Print

The current outbreak of COVID-19 has affected global mobility in complex and unprecedented ways in the form of various travel restrictions, suspension of air travel and border closures. To better understand this, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has developed a global mobility database to map these impacts on human mobility, across global, regional and country levels. Furthermore, COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations in camps and camp-like settings as well as exacerbated the vulnerabilities of mobile populations who may now be stranded owing to COVID-19 related mobility restrictions. This data is particularly important when addressing specific needs faced by migrants and mobile populations.  

As the global mobility context continues to evolve rapidly, DTM remains flexible and adaptive by tailoring existing tools or developing new tools to better analyze the changing dynamics.  Subsequently, the IOM have initiated the following main activities: 

COVID-19 Travel Restriction Monitoring - This database provides daily reporting on the rapidly changing travel restrictions being imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform maps and analyzes the different countries, territories and areas (C/T/A) that are imposing restrictions, as well as those that are receiving restrictions. This analysis is developed by categorizing the different types of restriction into 14 categories, including whether it is a total or partial restriction on entryThis workstream uses secondary data sources such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), media reports and direct information from IOM country missions. 

With global mobility at a near standstill, more stringent restrictions and new exceptions to mobility have also been issued by Governments and authorities, to reflect this, DTM has also incorporated the analysis of exceptions to mobility restrictions such as repatriations, the mobility of humanitarian and medical experts, airline crew and so on to capture the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 global mobility context.  

To effectively visualize this, drawing on the data from the COVID-19 Travel Restriction Monitoring database, the DTM team has developed ainteractive travel restriction matrix to easily visualize the current status of travel restrictions that are imposed and received by all the countries, territories or areas simultaneously.  

COVID-19 Country Points of Entry (PoE) Status Baseline Assessment  IOM has developed a global mobility database mapping the status of different Points of Entry (PoE), globally. These include airports, land border crossing points (could be rail or road), blue border crossing points (sea, river or lake), internal transit points and areas of interest. For each point of entry, data is collected on the type of restriction, measureds applied and the time frame, as well as the population category that may be affected by the restrictive measures. This workstream uses direct input from IOM missions and this dashboard displays regularly updated mobility restrictions at location level.  

Stranded Migrant Mapping To better understand how COVID-19 related mobility restrictions affect migrants and mobile populations, DTM is tracking information to provide a comprehensive overview of the different categories of migrants in precarious situations through direct IOM country sources and extensive media searches. The population types are the following: 

  • Stranded Migrants are individuals unable to return as a result of mobility restrictions related to COVID-19. This could include economic migrants, students, temporary visa/work permit holders, or tourists. These populations may be seeking repatriation or assistance while remaining abroad. 

  • Migrants repatriated or who returned to their country of origins/resident country are organized into the following subcategories: 

  • Repatriated Migrants repatriation/assistance includes individuals that have returned to their country of origin or country of residence through Government repatriation efforts.  

  • Returning Migrants are previously stranded individuals who have returned to country of origin/resident country by their own means. 

  • Camps, Detention Centers or Camp-like Settings include populations who have been residing in transit centres, detention centres or camp/camp-like settings that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

  • Other = categories that does not fall obviously into the three categories listed above, such as migrant laborers with work permits/visas. 

Connectivity Maps using Flow Monitoring in Response to COVID-19 

Connectivity maps use DTM’s Flow Monitoring Registry (FMR) operational data to understand cross-border population mobility trends within and between certain areas to help inform public health preparedness and response strategies in targeted areas. This workstreams draws on existing flow monitoring data to derive quantitative estimates of the flow of individuals through a defined location to capture dynamics of highly mobile populations. There are two types of Connectivity maps, ‘incoming’ maps and ‘outgoing’ maps depending on the type of movement. Additionally, those maps could be Subnational (showing the movements connections between FMPs and Admin Levels 1 inside the country of survey) or International (showing movements between FMPs and countries). The data is aggregated at a temporal level i.e. using the aggregate of the total period of data collection. Such period is can be different for each FMP, and at a spatial level using Individual movements are aggregated by FMP. Depending on the type of movement, i.e. incoming or outgoing, the individual movements are also aggregate by Admin level 1 of origin (for incoming movements) or Admin level 1 of destination (for outgoing movements) and by Destination Admin Level 1. Connectivity maps shows only geo-referenced data, that means it is not showing the entire data set of FMR. For Subnational maps, the information about the Admin Level 1 is not always available