COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly across the globe. As of 1 March, and since the outbreak began in December 2019, close to 113.5 million confirmed cases have been reported worldwide, with over 2.5 million reported deaths. Confirmed cases have been reported in more than 200 countries, territories, or areas. As of 23 February, the number of new global cases reported weekly has dropped for the sixth consecutive week, and the number of new deaths has also dropped for the third consecutive week. Only south-east Asia and the eastern Mediterranean regions are reporting slight increases in the numbers. Since December 2020, vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 have begun in over 100 countries.
Between 26 January and 22 February 2021, a total of 227 countries, territories, or areas have issued 104,490 travelrelated measures indicating a decrease of eight per cent from 114,490 reported on 25 January 2021. Of these, 75,619 were reported as conditions for authorized entry such as medical requirements while 29,731 were reported as entry restrictions such as airport closures and passenger bans. In the reporting period, there was an increase of three per cent in the entry restrictions and a decrease of 12 per cent in conditions for authorized entry. In terms of conditions for authorized entry, there was a decrease of 13 per cent in medical requirements such as medical certificates and eight per cent decrease in new visa requirements for entry. There was an increase of 40 per cent in entry restrictions on nationals of specific countries, territories, or areas and a 17 per cent increase in visa restrictions such as invalidations and suspensions.
In parallel to existing travel restrictions, a total of 189 countries, territories, or areas have issued 795 exceptions enabling mobility despite travel restrictions. As of 22 February 2021, 10 countries, territories, or areas issued 23 new exceptions whilst four countries, territories, or areas removed eight exceptions.
The dramatic impact of these measures on mobile and displaced populations around the world continues, with considerable variation based on the policy and epidemiological contexts in their sending, transit, and receiving areas. As new COVID-19 variants spread, entry and testing regulations and measures are evolving rapidly, and mobile populations often lack timely, accurate information about these changes. In addition, as countries ramp up their vaccination campaigns, barriers often remain to the inclusion of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in these schemes. 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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