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"U.S. expulsion practices are recklessly exposing an entire region to increased risk of COVID-19," human rights defenders hold.
Physicians for Human Rights, Oxfam, and four other international NGOs Thursday warned that massive deportations the United States is carrying out will facilitate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Caribbean countries that do not have adequate health systems.
“U.S. deportation and expulsion practices are recklessly exposing an entire region to increased risk of COVID-19… the Trump administration has continued deportations apace, reportedly operating hundreds of deportation flights, including many to countries whose already strained healthcare systems could collapse,” Oxfam explained.
“Over 100 people deported from the United States have been confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, often after being held in unsafe conditions in U.S. detention facilities without adequate testing or access to medical care.”
The International NGOs mentioned that Guatemala, Honduras, or Haiti, which are common countries of deportation, are ill-equipped to handle the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Guatemala, where U.S. deportations make up over 15 percent of COVID-19 cases, only has two large urban hospitals and a patchwork of smaller medical facilities. Honduras’ health system ranks as one of the worst. In Haiti, 60 percent of the country lives in poverty and there are only 60 ventilators and an almost non-existent health care system for 11 million people.”
On Wednesday, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise announced the extension of the health emergency for two months and reiterated the mandatory use of face masks in public places.
Given that epidemiologists estimate that the peak of contagion will be reached until mid-July, Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe expressed his concern about a collapse of the network of hospitals treating the pandemic.
As of Thursday morning, Haiti had reported 663 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 22 deaths. Over the past five days, the number of new cases increased by 70 percent, especially where Puerto Principe, the country's capital, is located.
To date, the National Laboratory has analyzed some 2,352 people suspected of being contaminated with the new coronavirus.