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The group warned despite the closure of borders decreed by Haiti, the free movement of migrants between both countries continues.
Nearly 23,500 Haitians including 1,101 minors who lived in the Dominican Republic returned voluntarily to Haiti during April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Support Group for Returnees and Refugees (GARR) informed Saturday.
The group warned despite the closure of borders decreed by Haiti, the free movement of migrants between both countries continues. Most of the crossings are made by alternative routes to the official ones, which are located at irregular points such as Malpasse, Belladère or Ouanaminthe.
As of Saturday, the French-speaking nation has reported 151 cases and 12 deaths from the coronavirus. While their neighbor to the east has reported over 9,882 cases and over 380 deaths.
GARR warned that Haitians who return to their nation are not subjected to the respective health protocols to determine if they are infected with the virus.
The United Nations is worried that the coronavirus crisis is likely to aggravate an extremely fragile political and socio-economic situation.
The United States-backed and widely despised government had closed Haiti’s border, ports, and airports to the movement of people last month. Since then, only a small number of tests have been administered, and there are rising fears that a health catastrophe will unfold over the coming months.
More than four million Haitians, almost a third of the island's population, are in need of emergency food assistance, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warned, highlighting that the COVID-19 crisis has worsened the situation.