A half-year into coronavirus pandemic, and these migrants have not heard about COVID-19

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jun 25, 2020, 05:31 PM(IST)

Migrants in Somalia Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Monitors for the UN migration agency interview people at the border in Somalia, a crossroads on one of the world's most dangerous migration routes: across the Red Sea with traffickers, through war-ravaged Yemen and into rich Gulf countries.

With the entire world being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, it's hard to imagine that anyone, anywhere has not heard of it. But much to our surprise, scores of migrants arriving in Somalia are unaware of COVID-19.

Monitors for the UN migration agency interview people at the border in Somalia, a crossroads on one of the world's most dangerous migration routes: across the Red Sea with traffickers, through war-ravaged Yemen and into rich Gulf countries.

After the first infections were confirmed in Somalia, a new question was added into the simple list -- How many people in your group are aware of the coronavirus?

In the week ending June 20, just over half of the 3,471 people tracked said they had never heard of COVID-19.

The migrants mostly consist of young men from rural parts of neighbouring Ethiopia. Most have no education, and some are from communities where internet access is low.

Also read | There's a country where thousands haven't even heard of coronavirus!

Anyone who is unaware of the coronavirus is given a short explanation of the pandemic, including how the virus is contracted and descriptions of the symptoms and preventative measures.

Somali authorities cite limited internet access, limited awareness campaigns and even extremists' restrictions on communications with the outside world.

Somalia, with one of the world's weakest health systems, now has more than 2,800 cases.

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