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Migrants Entering Somalia Say They Were Unaware Of The Coronavirus Pandemic Last Week

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Half the migrants entering Somalia last week said they did not know about the coronavirus pandemic during interviews with United Nations employees, the Associated Press reported.

Reports show that 51% of the 3,471 migrants who were interviewed at the border in Somalian the week ending June 20 said they were unaware of the coronavirus, according to the AP.

“The first time I saw this I was also very shocked,” said U.N. Agency Program Manager Celeste Sanchez Bean, who works in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Migrants are routinely asked where they are from, where they are going and why, but after an outbreak in Somalia, the U.N. started screening to see how many migrants knew about the coronavirus, the AP reported.

When the question was first implemented, 88% of migrants reported not knowing about the virus, the AP reported. Most of the migrants come from rural areas with little to no internet access, some come from areas controlled by extremist groups who are cavalier about the virus and others are simply uneducated, Bean told the AP.

“When you have migrants with such levels of unawareness, combined with this…I don’t want to say dangerous, but the migrants are putting themselves at risk,” Bean told the AP.

Limits on awareness campaigns and internet access with regulation of communications by extremist groups are reasons listed for the lack of knowledge by Somali authorities, AP reported.

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