La Jornada – The US will apply Covid tests to migrants forced to stay in Mexico

Chihuahua. The United States will apply Covid-19 tests to foreigners who were forced to wait in Mexican border cities for the response to their asylum process, before allowing them to cross the border and disappearing the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP for its acronym in English) or the “Stay in Mexico” program.

Migrants who show symptoms of the Covid-19 disease or test positive for the antigen will continue in Mexico, and it will be the responsibility of national authorities to ensure their treatment.

The United States Office of Population, Refugees and Migration reported on the weekend that it will summon foreigners awaiting asylum processing to present themselves for observation for 24 hours, in a place to be defined where they will apply an antigen test, temperature control and health questionnaires, before the “Stay in Mexico” program or the Protocol for the Protection of Migrants that the Donald Trump administration implemented in 2019 disappeared.

International civil organizations with experience in medical examinations for migrant populations and authorities of the Mexican government health system will coordinate the place of observation, states the statement from the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Migrants registered in the MPP must first pass through the sanitary filter, they will be able to reach international bridges only if they are transported from the place of observation and until the medical examination and antigen test rule out the Covid-19 disease.

“After people are confirmed to be an active Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) case and successfully undergo the protocol against Covid-19, partner organizations will transport them to the international bridge, in accordance with distancing guidelines physical ”, adds the statement.

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“People who test positive and have severe symptoms will receive treatment through the Mexican health system. Accompanying family members will also be quarantined ”.

“People who test positive for Covid-19 and show mild or no symptoms should be isolated for 10 days, in accordance with the policy of the local Mexican health authority and the guidance of the Centers for Control and Prevention of Diseases ”.

“Once infected people complete their periods of isolation and show no fever for 24 hours, without fever-reducing medications, and exposed family members complete their quarantine periods, partner organizations will once again consider facilitating their arrival at a port. entry of the United States ”.

Regarding the operation of the observation sites in the border cities of Mexico and the sanitary filters, the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration of the United States explained that “the departments of State and National Security are coordinating with the Centers for the Control and the Prevention of Diseases of the United States, as well as with the Mexican government and associated international organizations to implement them ”.

“Migrants will first arrive at observation sites outside of the United States, where organizations will provide them with a face mask. Masks will be used at all times and the spaces will be configured to guarantee physical distance, ”he said.

“They will be tested for antigen for Covid-19, the tests will be repeated if the initial test was not done within three days after a person’s arrival at a port of entry,” he clarified.

“An area will be set up for people who have received negative antigen tests, so that they do not come into contact with other people,” he added.

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In this context, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that migrants hosted by the MPP can call by phone to check if their asylum process is still active and register to receive care.

Foreigners who were returned through Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, under the program “Stay in Mexico” or the Protocol for the Protection of Migrants, can call (800) 283-2753 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. the afternoon.

“Due to the saturation of records, there have been interruptions in the conecta.acnur.org, people who did not get an appointment date will receive it soon. If you are unable to register, we ask you to try again later. We remind you that people will be entered according to their date of registration in MPP ”, said UNHCR.

The United States Department of Homeland Security in the El Paso, Texas area, distributed a press release in which it asks migrants “not to approach the border, verify that they have an active case and wait for the date on which their admission will be scheduled, “he explained.

“Applicants to enter the United States under the MPP must ensure that their case remains active,” he said.

“If you think you have an active case, you can review your situation by visiting the site conecta.acnur.org, by calling toll free at 800 283 2753 or by sending a WhatsApp message to 55 2535 2950 “.

“Do not come to the border, wait for official information from reliable sources of the United States government or international humanitarian organizations.”

“You will be given detailed information, including the date, time and location to process your case. Anyone who tells you that they have exclusive information outside of these official channels is trying to take advantage of you, as well as whoever asks you for money in exchange for these services ”.

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