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Controlling the spread of COVID-19 at Haiti border crossings

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Every day, thousands of Haitians cross into the neighbouring Dominican Republic to look for work, visit their families or simply to purchase goods at a cheaper rate.

In times of coronavirus, however, the massive and continuous movement of people between the 2 countries poses a threat to Haiti’s fragile healthcare system. The Dominican Republic has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the Caribbean and monitoring the borders is imperative to avoid an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Social unrest and political instability have long hindered its economy, leaving thousands of Haitians with no other option than seeking to seek a better future abroad.

Since June 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, almost 800 Haitians were have been forcibly repatriated. When they return, they often find themselves in a situation worse than the one they left, with no money and no opportunities.

Thanks to EU humanitarian funding, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) set up screening centres on all border crossing. Returning Haitians are requested to take a COVID-19 rapid test and wait for the results in one of the EU-funded quarantine centres, where they receive information, psychological support, 3 meals a day, and a hygiene kit.

Last updated 26/04/2021