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COVID-19 Disease Response | Situation Report 34 | 24 November – 28 December 2020

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83,322,449 Confirmed cases in over 200 countries, territories or areas

1,831,412 Deaths from COVID-19

110,320 Travel related measures have been issued by 226 countries, territories or areas

$301 M Received by IOM for its Global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for Coronavirus 20192

SITUATION OVERVIEW

COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly across the globe. As of 4 January, and since the outbreak began in December 2019, more than 83.5 million confirmed cases have been reported worldwide, as well as over 1.8 million deaths. Confirmed cases have been reported in more than 200 countries/territories/areas. At the end of 2020, the Americas account for the greatest proportion of reported new cases, followed by Europe, and South-East Asia.

In the last days of December, vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 began in over a dozen countries.

However, new variants of the virus causing COVID-19 (SARSCoV-2) were detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa in recent weeks and have since been found in other countries as well. Investigations are ongoing to determine if these variants spread faster among people and present any variations in terms of infection severity, antibody response, or vaccine efficacy.

The consequent effect of the new COVID-19 variant has also led to further restrictions on global mobility and migration with several new passenger bans and flight suspensions imposed to curtail infection. As of 29 December 2020, a total of 226 countries, territories, or areas, have issued 110,320 travel related measures indicating an increase of two per cent from 107,830 travel related measures reported on 24 November 2020. Of these, 81,035 were reported as conditions for authorized entry such as medical requirements while 29,285 were reported as entry restrictions such as airport closures and passenger bans. In the reporting period, there was an increase of one per cent in the entry restrictions and an increase of three per cent in the entry restrictions in conditions for authorized entry. In terms of conditions for authorized entry, there was a five per cent increase in medical requirements such as medical certificates and a three per cent increase in location surveillance tools such as Passenger Locator Forms. There was a 28 per cent decrease in entry restrictions on passengers arriving from specific countries, territories, or areas and a one per cent increase in airport closures and passenger bans. In parallel to existing travel restrictions, a total of 176 countries, territories or areas have issued 712 exceptions enabling mobility despite travel restrictions. As of 29 December 2020, 17 countries, territories or areas issued 22 new exceptions whilst 10 countries, territories or areas removed 17 exceptions.

As the pandemic’s effects continue to vary widely across world regions, mobile populations encounter diverse challenges depending on the policy and epidemiological contexts in their sending, transit, and receiving areas. Regulations and measures are evolving rapidly, as evidenced by the recent shifts in response to the new COVID-19 variant. However, mobile populations often lack timely, accurate information about these changes. These populations are also frequently in vulnerable socioeconomic situations and have been especially impacted by the global economic downturn generated by the pandemic, which has in turn reduced remittances and heightened food insecurity. Furthermore, in crisis contexts, COVID-19 has exacerbated existing gaps in access to basic services and protection challenges, particularly for the most vulnerable groups, and has often generated xenophobia and discrimination against mobile populations. To address these and other questions, IOM missions around the world are working with governments and partners to ensure that migrants, whether in regular or irregular situations, as well as returnees and forcibly displaced persons, are included in all aspects of COVID-19 preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.

International Organization for Migration
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