Coronavirus case in refugee camp on US-Mexico border raises alarm

Tents line the pavement in the Matamoros encampment housing asylum seekers on the US-Mexico border that has seen its first coronavirus case [Pu Ying Huang/Al Jazeera]

An asylum seeker has examined constructive for the novel coronavirus in a sprawling encampment simply steps from the US-Mexico border in Matamoros, underscoring the challenges migrants face in defending themselves from the pandemic.

After displaying signs of the virus final Thursday, the migrant and three members of the family had been positioned in isolation and examined, Global Response Management (GRM), a nonprofit offering medical companies within the camp, stated in an announcement.

When outcomes got here again on Monday, the migrant who had displayed signs examined constructive and the kin had unfavourable outcomes.

With 2,000+ #asylumseekers packed into tents alongside the border of #Mexico and already at increased threat for an infection, caring for our sufferers amid the #COVID19 outbreak could also be one of many greatest challenges GRM has ever confronted.

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Two others with signs of the virus are additionally in isolation, GRM stated.

Since circumstances of coronavirus in Mexico started to rise in March, advocates and authorities officers have been intensely anxious in regards to the potential for an outbreak within the camp, the place an estimated 2,000 migrants dwell in tents on the banks of the Rio Grande river.

“The presence of COVID-19 in an already weak inhabitants uncovered to the weather may probably be catastrophic,” GRM stated in an announcement.

Many migrants residing within the camp are US asylum seekers who had been despatched again to Mexico to await the result of their circumstances beneath a controversial Trump administration coverage referred to as Migrant Protection Protocols.

To put together for the virus, GRM sought to enhance sanitation within the camp by establishing 88 “handwashing stations”, distributed multivitamins to spice up migrants’ immune techniques and constructed a 20-bed area hospital.

Luz, a 42-year-old asylum seeker from Peru who requested that her final title not be used as a result of security considerations, stated she has tried to isolate as a lot as potential, although she typically ventures out of her tent to hunt some aid from the fierce Matamoros warmth.

“I really am not afraid, although I attempt to be cautious,” she stated. “But you possibly can’t keep in your tent on a regular basis … It’s too scorching.”

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