COVID-19 Response - Situation Report 8 (10-13 April 2020)
On 31 December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia of unknown origin was reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of the People’s Republic of China. On 30 January 2020, the Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the illness known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). On 11 March, WHO officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since the outbreak began, as of 13 April, nearly 1.8 million confirmed cases and over 111,000 deaths have been reported globally. Confirmed cases have been reported in more than 200 countries/territories/areas, with new cases and countries reporting daily. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most border points to limit crossings to essential travel only, resulting in a near global international mobility deadlock. In many places in the world, including Latin America, the entry into force of decisions on border closings, suspension of air operations and/or travel restrictions have prevented people from continuing on their standard migratory routes or from returning to their places of origin. The use of unauthorized border crossings can increase the risks of trafficking, smuggling, exploitation and abuse, and excludes these migrants and refugees from the necessary health controls for the prevention of COVID-19. The economic, social and psychosocial effects of the measures adopted in response to the health crisis caused by COVID-19 have disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable population groups with less capacities for resilience. Among these are migrants and refugees, especially those who require humanitarian assistance or whose food security, housing and access to health services depend on independent or informal forms of work that have been interrupted. Added to this is the fear that COVID-19 will reach the places that provide collective accommodation and services for migrants in various countries, which is in some cases leading governments or aid organizations to order them to be temporarily closed or significantly reduce the scale of operations.