A report released by the independent humanitarian organization Refugees International called into question worldwide border closures amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reports.
The report argues the world's 70 million refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced peoples are among the most vulnerable to the spread of the virus, and sealed-off borders decrease their already-limited capacity to combat it, especially as the humanitarian supply chain that keeps them alive is threatened.
Refugees, the report said, face issues like enhanced density in formal camps and informal settlements, and many lack basic necessities like soap and water that are used to quell the virus. Similarly, health services and access to information about the pandemic are severely limited.
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In Greece, for example, the report notes 40,000 asylum seekers are "trapped" in "appalling conditions" on the Aegean Islands without running water.
"Meanwhile, nationalist leaders and politicians throughout the region — including in Italy and Spain — have seized upon the outbreak as a false basis for xenophobic, anti-refugee rhetoric and policies," the report reads.
So far, the number of reported infections in refugee camps remains low, but COVID-19 testing has been very limited. Read more at The Washington Post.
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