Tenosique, Tabasco, June 19, 2020

To Whom It May Concern:

Due to the high-risk situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many of the other houses for migrants, we initiated protocol to address this situation, ensuring the well-being and health of the population to whom we provide humanitarian support and defense of human rights.

On March 16, Guatemala announced the closure of its land borders, among others, and we saw, almost immediately, a halt in the arrivals of migrants and refugees through our border. On March 20, the decree announced by the Governor of the State of Tabasco, Adán Augusto López Hernández, and published in the Official State Newspaper, came into force, establishing the guidelines and protection measures for the Tabasco population, before the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a meeting that same day with the director of the Tenosique Sanitary Jurisdiction, we articulated the different measures to identify and channel possible cases. They expressed the need to work together to break the chain of infections.

After an urgent meeting of our leadership  team, we decided that on Sunday, March 22nd, La 72 should initiate a period of quarantine, during which no one could leave the shelter, except for justifiable reasons or force majeure. Following our line of humanitarian assistance, we would continue to receive people from the migratory route, but they would remain in preventive isolation for 14 days in separate spaces on site, without contact with the rest of the population. The migratory flow almost completely stopped: fewer than 15 people arrived in the last two weeks and were mostly Central American migrants returning home from central and northern Mexico.

Prior to initiating this phase, we prepared, with the support of the Doctors Without Borders team, an action protocol against Covid-19 with preventive measures (access to information and reinforcement of hygiene measures as well as case tracking), and on procedures to attend to new arrivals and guidance as to how act in the event of a possible case of Coronavirus.

The Secretariat of Health and the Sanitary Jurisdiction of Tenosique requested that people with suspicious symptoms of Covid-19 not be transferred to hospitals or emergency services, but that they be isolated in a preventive way and that we notify the local epidemiologist who would provide instructions. Confirmed cases with mild symptoms would remain in home quarantine at La 72 under our care. For this reason we had to rearrange and prepare several differentiated spaces for cases of preventive.