Left Menu
Development News Edition

1st COVID-19 case in asylum seeker camp at US-Mexico border

An international disaster relief organisation reported Tuesday the first confirmed case of COVID-19 among migrants living in a tent encampment of asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border.

PTI | Ciudadvictoria | Updated: 01-07-2020 11:21 IST | Created: 01-07-2020 10:43 IST
1st COVID-19 case in asylum seeker camp at US-Mexico border
Representative Image Image Credit: Flickr

An international disaster relief organization reported Tuesday the first confirmed case of COVID-19 among migrants living in a tent encampment of asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. Global Response Management said that one person in the Matamoros, Tamaulipas camp across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas had tested positive.

"Aggressive isolation and tracing measures have been enacted," the U.S.-based relief organisation said via Twitter. There are some 2,000 asylum seekers living in tents along the border. The migrants from Central America and other parts of the world have been stranded by the United States' suspension of asylum hearings due to the pandemic through at least mid-July.

Last week, Andrea Leiner, a spokeswoman for GRM, said they had implemented measures to try to reduce the risk of the virus' spread, but conceded it was a challenge with confirmed infections cropping up among U.S. and Mexican immigration officials and in residents on both sides of the border. They had placed tents a meter (3 feet) apart, leaving them open for ventilation and having everyone sleep head to toe to curtail the chances of transmission while people sleep.

Two Tamaulipas state immigration officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, said the infected person was a Mexican citizen who was deported earlier in June from the United States to Reynosa and who arrived at the camp over the weekend. Four other people the young woman had contact with tested negative, the officials said.

Asylum seekers began pooling in border cities like Matamoros under the U.S. policy commonly known as "Remain in Mexico," in which asylum seekers can make their initial request for U.S. asylum, but have to wait in Mexico for the lengthy process to play out. More than 60,000 asylum-seekers have been returned to Mexico to wait for hearings in U.S. court since January 2019, when the U.S. introduced its "Migrant Protection Protocols" policy.

There had been a concern since the arrival of the pandemic that the crowded tents and lack of proper sanitation could lead to infections in the Matamoros camp. GRM started working in the camp last September. The organization provides medical treatment with a team of medical volunteers.

Dr. Michele Heisler, medical director at Physicians for Human Rights and professor of internal medicine and public health at the University of Michigan, in a statement, characterized GRM's work in the camp as "Herculean." She criticized the U.S. policy for creating the situation and said asylum seekers should be paroled to stay with relatives in the U.S. while their cases are processed. "Local and national health authorities in Mexico must act immediately to improve access to COVID-19 testing and care in Matamoros," Heisler said.

"The families living in the Matamoros tent city are among the most vulnerable in the hemisphere to the spread of COVID-19." Mexico's own national caseload continues to rise steadily, with 5,432 confirmed cases reported Tuesday, to bring the nationwide total to more than 226,000. Confirmed COVID-19 deaths rose by 648 Tuesday, to bring the total to 27,769 deaths.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...

Videos

Latest News

FEATURE-'India's George Floyds' spur calls for end to police brutality

By Anuradha Nagaraj CHENNAI, India, July 7 Thomson Reuters Foundation - The rare arrest of six police officers on murder charges over the death of two men in custody has emboldened victims to speak up against targeted police brutality in In...

Delhi violence UAPA case on Ishrat Jahan: Controversy in HC over representing police

The controversy over who will represent Delhi Police in a communal violence matter again hit the Delhi High Court which on Tuesday allowed Delhi government standing counsel to file a status report on a plea by former Congress municipal coun...

Suicide bombing, attack in Afghanistan kill 7 policemen

A suicide car bomber targeted an Afghan police convoy in eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday morning, killing four officers, including a police commander, a local official said. Three other officers were killed in an attack in the country...

IG probes 'letter' on gangster's link with cop, inquiry sought into then SSP's 'links' too

Police on Tuesday said an IGP-rank officer is probing into a letter purportedly written weeks before his death by DSP Devendra Mishra, alleging a nexus between gangster Vikas Pandey and the now suspended Chaubeypur station officer. The anno...

Give Feedback