- Title: Sprawling Mexican border camp ill-prepared for coronavirus
- Date: 22nd March 2020
- Summary: MATAMOROS, MEXICO (MARCH 20, 2020) (REUTERS) MIGRANTS IN LINE AT ENCAMPMENT NEAR U.S. BORDER MIGRANTS RECEIVING WATER BOTTLES VARIOUS, MIGRANTS IN LINE MIGRANTS OUTSIDE DINING TENT VARIOUS, MIGRANTS AT ENCAMPMENT VARIOUS, MIGRANT COOKING OVER OPEN STOVE VARIOUS, MIGRANTS BY TENTS VARIOUS, MIGRANTS AT ENCAMPMENT VARIOUS, PEOPLE WALKING ACROSS BRIDGE AT U.S.-MEXICO BORDER MAN PASSES U.S. BORDER PATROL OFFICERS BRIDGE AT BORDER
- Keywords: Central Americans Matamoros Mexico Migrants U.S.A. border camp caravan coronavirus crossing disease immigration infection
- Reuters ID: LVA001C64WFUV
- Location: MATAMOROS, MEXICO
- City: MATAMOROS, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Duration: 00:01:42
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Story Text: Migrants in a sprawling encampment steps from the U.S. border in Matamoros, Mexico, have begun to isolate as best they can in their closely packed tents in preparation for the arrival of the coronavirus.
For months, thousands of migrants, many U.S. asylum seekers returned under the Trump administration's controversial "Remain in Mexico" policy implemented last year, have passed through the encampment nestled among brush by the river-border.
Cases of colds and flu spread rapidly, and advocates have decried poor health and sanitation conditions in the settlement that currently houses an estimated 2,000 people. Border towns like this will soon swell even further: The Mexican foreign ministry said it had agreed to accept Central Americans denied entry by U.S. officials as a result of a new policy implemented by the Trump administration in the wake of the outbreak.
Migrant populations around the world - often lacking in state provided healthcare and the ability to isolate themselves at home - are seen as among the most vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus.
Matamoros had a population of more than 520,000 people as of 2015, the national statistics institute says. Its five public hospitals have just 25 ventilators and 11 intensive care beds between them, according to the State Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks.
Experts say that is a fraction of what would be needed to treat a large outbreak of COVID-19, the sometimes fatal disease caused by the coronavirus that in severe cases results in shortness of breath and lung failure.
Critics have lambasted Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for what they say is his relatively relaxed response to the coronavirus. He argues that the country must keep going to limit damage to the economy lest it hurt the poor and the elderly.
In recent days, the Trump administration has restricted traffic at the border.
Mexico has 251 confirmed cases of coronavirus, health authorities said Saturday (March 21), a fraction of the cases north of the border.
(Production: Daniel Becerril, Rodolfo Pena Roja)
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