Kenya to isolate two of the world’s largest refugee camps amid fears of Covid-19 spread
Kenya has ordered a full lockdown of two refugee camps, which are currently home to over 400,000 refugees, amid fears that unsanitary and overcrowded conditions there are ideal for coronavirus transmission.
Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i ordered the closure of the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps and announced his decision to “order the cessation of movement into and out of” both camps in a post on his Twitter account.
Following the meeting, and in furtherance of directives to curb the communal spread of COVID-19 across the country, the Government has ordered for the cessation of movement into and out of both Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps effective tomorrow, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. pic.twitter.com/bTHI5EPLFk
— Dr. Fred Matiang’i (@FredMatiangi) April 28, 2020
The closures will come into effect on Wednesday.
According to Kenya’s health ministry, the country has had a total of 374 confirmed infections and 14 coronavirus-related deaths so far.
Kenya is not the first country to be faced with the problem of dealing with refugee camps amid the coronavirus pandemic. Greece quarantined two camps earlier this month after residents there tested positive for the virus.
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International aid organizations, human rights groups and doctors have been warning about the risks associated with refugee camps internationally since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. A combination of poor sanitation and overcrowded accommodation, where social distancing is practically impossible, make the facilities a perfect breeding ground for the novel coronavirus.
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