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Mexico – Emergency Tracking, Southern Border Monitoring in the Context of COVID-19, Report #2 (July 2020)

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This report is a baseline assessment for the month of July of official Points of Entry (PoE) and service delivery for migrants on Mexico's southern border, specifically in Tapachula in the State of Chiapas, and Tenosique and Villahermosa in Tabasco. The information on PoE is derived from the efforts of IOM Mexico in evaluating the official PoEs at the national level. The evaluation of service delivery for migrants is done through the identification of organizations and institutions in the field, based on the sectorwide approaches set out in the IOM Operational Framework for Emergency Migration Situations. The information in this report is collected by IOM Mexico staff in Chiapas and Tabasco through interviews with 21 key institutional informants working in the municipalities mentioned above. These institutions include the: National Institute of Migration, Jesuit Refugee Service, Guatemalan Consulate in Ciudad Hidalgo, Tapachula Migrant Assistance Office, Iniciativas para el Desarrollo Humano A.C., Albergue Jesús El Buen Pastor, Por la Superación de la Mujer A.C., Honduran Consulate in Tapachula, Asylum Access, Una Mano Amiga en la Lucha contra el SIDA A.C., Médicos del Mundo, Guatemalan Consulate in Tapachula, Albergue DIF Viva México, United Nations Children's Fund,
Office of the Public Prosecutor for Immigrants, Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees, Albergue Belén, Save the Children, National Human Rights Commission, Regional Office of the Procurator for the Rights of Children and Adolescents, State Human Rights Commission, Centre for Comprehensive Care in Chiapas and National System for Comprehensive Development of the Family.


On 11 March 2020, due to the alarming levels of spread and severity of the COVID-19 virus, the World Health Organization declared a state of pandemic. In this situation, on 23 March 2020 the General Health Council of the Ministry of Interior of the United Mexican States recognized the epidemic as a serious disease of priority in the national territory.

The federal government applied the "Sana Distancia" campaign from 23 March to 31 May, promoting isolation at home, applying basic measures to prevent contagion, and instructing the closure of non-essential establishments for emergency health care, including businesses, schools, and institutions at all three levels of government. In the case of the governments of Chiapas and Tabasco, they also began the “Sana Distancia” campaign in parallel with the federal government, applying the same recommendations on the suspension of activities, including procedures, applications and legal proceedings. On 1 June, the campaign “El Semáforo de Riesgo Epidemiológico” (Epidemiological Risk Traffic Light) launched as a weekly monitoring system to monitor and grade the use of public space according to the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

During the month of July, the Epidemiological Risk Traffic Light categorized most of Mexico as red (highest risk) and continued to call for the restriction of non-essential economic activities. The state of Tabasco remained in this category with 22,994 accumulated cases and 2,094 deaths as of 31st July and remained as one of the states with the greatest hospital occupation. The municipality of Centro, where the city of Villahermosa is located, is where most of the cases in the state have occurred with 10,546 accumulated cases and 872 deaths, while Tenosique reported 711 cases and 48 deaths.

Likewise, some states went to the intermediate warning light (orange), which allowed the reactivation of some economic activities. Such is the case in Chiapas, which acquired this category in the second half of July.
Chiapas reported 983 deaths and 5,836 accumulated cases as of July 31, of which 911 cases and 172 deaths were in the municipality of Tapachula.

The Mexican government has registered 310 positive cases of migrants at the national level in July, mainly from Honduras, the United States of America, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Cuba, El Salvador, and Guatemala, among others. Fourteen deaths of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Spain and the United States of America were reported. In the southeast, eight positive cases were recorded among the migrant population, of which four occurred in Tabasco, two in Chiapas and two in Oaxaca.

The Mexican Institute of Social Security reported the loss of 181,000 formal jobs during the month of July, reaching the loss of more than a million jobs since the declaration of the health emergency. By September, it is expected that the companies and businesses that resisted the first stage of confinement by COVID-19 will terminate their employees, reaching a rate of 358,000 formal jobs lost in that month.