Argentina + 5 more

R4V Southern Cone Situation Report - July 2021






• In Argentina more than half of the population has now been vaccinated against Covid-19. Argentina's government sought to accelerate its vaccination drive in a bid to preempt a rise in infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, which is not yet circulating in the community. The government extended existing Covid-19 restrictions until 6 August, including the cap on the number of travelers allowed to enter the country. Since 22 July the online asylum claim registration system in the country stopped working. This situation is particularly concerning for those refugees and migrants arriving in the north in the city of La Quiaca (border with Bolivia), since they cannot regularize their situation or file for asylum in person in this city, as Migration premises at the border are not authorized to receive this type of cases.
By the end of July, Bolivia registered a de-escalation of Covid-19 cases for the seventh consecutive week. Twenty-five per cent of the population had already received at least one vaccine dose, while 14 per cent was fully vaccinated. In Paraguay, due to fears of the spread of the Delta variant, the Ministry of Health decided that as of 21 July and for the following month (at least) Paraguayan citizens and foreigners arriving to the country will have to comply with a 5-day-period of mandatory isolation and a COVID-19 PCR test (Venezuelans are not required to show proof of health insurance with coverage for COVID-19). With only 25 per cent of the population with one vaccine dose, on 28 July the Paraguayan Ministry of Health announced that it was suspending application of the first doses of the vaccine against COVID-19, as the country had exhausted its stock of vaccines. In its statement, it added that they would dedicate the next days to completing second doses. In Uruguay, the government loosened restrictive measures to prevent and contain the spread of Covid-19.
President Luis Lacalle Pou announced that Uruguayans and residents returning from trips abroad will only be required to have full doses of immunizing vaccinations and will be free from quarantine. Uruguay hopes to be able to reopen its borders next September. Based on the recommendation of the National Vaccine Advisory Commission, the Ministry of Public Health approved the supply of a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to all people who received the primary schedule with the Coronavac vaccine.

During July, R4V partners reported 150 refugees and migrants having entered Argentina via La Quiaca (Jujuy), border with Bolivia (over 100 on the first ten days of July), with many of them facing homelessness and serious health risks, as temperatures in the area dropped to –10 °C during the night. In Bolivia, R4V partners on mission observed that Venezuelans were avoiding crossings that lead to Colchane (Chile) and instead taking longer and more difficult journeys – often by foot – from Pisiga Bolivar (Bolivian territory) to Pisiga Choque (Chilean territory) in order to avoid military checks and the self-reporting processes in Colchane prior to transfer to transitory quarantine shelters in Iquique. The crossings continue to be predominantly at night. In Desaguadero (border with Peru), transportation services are increasingly refusing to transport refugees and migrants to the cities of La Paz and El Alto, fearing they will be denounced for human trafficking. In Uruguay, more than 40 foreigners per month entered the country at the Rivera-Livramento border, the Secretary of the Presidency informed the press.