Key Regional Updates
As of 14 October 2020, a total of 1,802,170 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, out of which 32,110 fatalities have been reported.
As the world celebrates Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic comes as a stark reminder of the importance of handwashing to prevent the spread of the virus. In many crisis-affected settings across the MENA region, the lack of access to clean water impedes effective handwashing and detriments overall health outcomes for millions. In support of this year’s theme “Hand Hygiene for All”, IOM continues to play a critical role in the provision of water, health and sanitation (WASH) services across the region and globally to support COVID-19 prevention and response.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) published its “Quarterly Report on Points of Entry Analysis in MENA Region (July 2020 - September 2020)” on 15 October 2020. Findings from the analysis illustrate a widespread and rapid reopening of international airports. A more limited reopening was recorded for land and blue border crossing points during the reporting period.
IOM MENA Regional Office participated in the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean on 12 and 13 October 2020. During the meeting, IOM issued a statement on its efforts to include migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, and returnees in COVID-19 preparedness and response activities. IOM advocated to ensure the provision of essential services and improve access to medicines and vaccines for migrants, irrespective of their legal status.
IOM and Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, jointly organized a webinar on Countering Trafficking and Smuggling of Children Across Borders in the EU and the MENA region, on 15 October 2020. During the virtual event, governments from across the EU and MENA region, alongside EU institutions and UN agencies, shared their experiences and expertise in the field of child-sensitive border management with a focus on counter-smuggling and counter-trafficking measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.