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Preparedness and mitigation measures for refugees and migrants from Venezuela - COVID-19: Update No 3, 27/03/20

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SITUATION/CONTEXT INFORMATION

  • On 26 March, President Vizcarra extended the state of emergency and the quarantine period until 12 April following the recommendations of health specialists and of the different sectors battling against the spread of the virus.

  • On 26 March, the President requested extraordinary legislative powers to the parliament for a 60-day period. If approved, the executive will be able to legislate on what is deemed needed to safeguard the right to health, livelihoods and security.

  • The Ministry of Health (MINSA) has been testing suspicious cases of COVID-19 among refugees and migrants living in shelters. All tested negative.

  • On 26 March, Police entered a shelter in Lima and detained refugees and migrants after allegedly neighbours complained about the noise and the overcrowded space. With the support of GTRM partners they were released in the afternoon.

  • Partners are working with the MINSA to include some 100 Venezuelan doctors and health professionals to support the response.

BORDER SITUATION

  • Previously to the COVID-19 emergency, the President declared that all persons entering the country irregularly would be expelled. Under the current situation, and despite the Superintendence of Migration (SNM) overturning any order to expel foreigners, the Police continues to detain irregular entries without a clear protocol as to how to handle these cases and how to proceed.

KEY IMPACTS, NEEDS AND RISKS

  • Shelters require urgent food, WASH and management support to ensure compliance with governmental emergency sanitary policies, such as specific spaces to isolate potential or confirmed COVID-19 cases.

  • While during the quarantine the executive decree allows mobility to supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals (for emergencies) and banks within the area of residence, this mobility is conditioned by certain rules, including presenting a valid ID if requested by authorities. Asylum seekers ID is not a valid document to obtain free passage, and persons that have lost their documentation or have an irregular status cannot access these services if needed.

  • According to the RMRP 2020 over 200,000 refugees and migrants are at heightened vulnerability risk for lack of shelter and food security. This situation is worsened by the current situation, including the extension of the mandatory social isolation, which prevents refugees and migrants who make their daily earnings working as street vendors.