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Africa News of Friday, 19 June 2020


How refugee camps are tackling coronavirus

As this year’s World Refugee Day is marked in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, the UN is warning of an increase in local transmissions and urging countries to continue preparing.

In Eastern Africa more there are more than 21,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in host countries, where more than 4 million refugees and 8 million other displaced people are vulnerable.

And while there has been no widespread outbreak in refugee camps, social distancing can be hard to maintain because of overcrowding.

In April, Kenya's government restricted movement into and out of Dadaab (which hosts 200,000 people) and Kakuma refugee camps to contain the spread of the virus. The country's confirmed cases have topped 4,000 with new infections rising by the day.

The camps have managed to keep their infection rates low by enforcing strict measures. Fewer than 15 refugees and health workers had tested positive by mid-June. But pre-existing challenges make managing Covid-19 difficult.

The UN says access to registration and information on refugee status for new asylum seekers remains difficult because of current lockdowns. For many refugees fleeing violence and death in South Sudan and Somalia, the hope of a new and better life in the US, Canada or Europe has been put on hold by travel restrictions.

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