First COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Asylum Seeker Camp at U.S.-Mexico Border

First COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Asylum Seeker Camp at U.S.-Mexico Border

(CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico) — A world catastrophe aid group reported Tuesday the primary confirmed case of COVID-19 amongst migrants residing in a tent encampment of asylum seekers on the U.S.-Mexico border.

International Response Administration mentioned that one particular person within the Matamoros, Tamaulipas camp throughout the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas had examined optimistic.

“Aggressive isolation and tracing measures have been enacted,” the U.S.-based aid group mentioned by way of Twitter.

There are some 2,000 asylum seekers residing in tents alongside the border. The migrants from Central America and different elements of the world have been stranded by the USA’ suspension of asylum hearings because of the pandemic by way of a minimum of mid-July.

Final week, Andrea Leiner, a spokeswoman for GRM, mentioned they’d carried out measures to attempt to scale back the chance of the virus’ unfold, however conceded it was a problem with confirmed infections cropping up amongst U.S. and Mexican immigration officers and in residents on each side of the border.

They’d positioned tents a meter (three ft) aside, leaving them open for air flow and having everybody sleep head to toe to curtail the probabilities of transmission whereas individuals sleep.

Two Tamaulipas state immigration officers, who requested anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate the case, mentioned the contaminated particular person was a Mexican citizen who was deported earlier in June from the USA to Reynosa and who arrived on the camp over the weekend.

4 different individuals the younger lady had contact with examined detrimental, the officers mentioned.

Asylum seekers started pooling in border cities like Matamoros below the U.S. coverage generally referred to as “Stay in Mexico,” during which asylum seekers could make their preliminary request for U.S. asylum, however have to attend in Mexico for the prolonged course of to play out.

Greater than 60,000 asylum-seekers have been returned to Mexico to attend for hearings in U.S. courtroom since January 2019, when the U.S. launched its “Migrant Safety Protocols” coverage.

There had been concern for the reason that arrival of the pandemic that the crowded tents and lack of correct sanitation might result in infections within the Matamoros camp.

GRM began working within the camp final September. The group offers medical therapy with a staff of medical volunteers.

Dr. Michele Heisler, medical director at Physicians for Human Rights and professor of inner medication and public well being at College of Michigan, in an announcement characterised GRM’s work within the camp as “Herculean.” She criticized the U.S. coverage for creating the scenario and mentioned asylum seekers ought to be paroled to stick with kinfolk within the U.S. whereas their circumstances are processed.

“Native and nationwide well being authorities in Mexico should act instantly to enhance entry to COVID-19 testing and care in Matamoros,” Heisler mentioned. “The households residing within the Matamoros tent metropolis are among the many most weak within the hemisphere to the unfold of COVID-19.”

Mexico’s personal nationwide case load continues to rise steadily, with 5,432 confirmed circumstances reported Tuesday, to convey the nationwide whole to greater than 226,000. Confirmed COVID-19 deaths rose by 648 Tuesday, to convey the overall to 27,769 deaths.


AP author Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.