Coronavirus Prevention Techniques and Syrian Refugees in Jordan
In: Refugee Review, volume V. ESPMI Network.
This field report examines the case of the COVID-19 pandemic and Syrian refugees in Jordan. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Jordanian government enacted some of the world’s strictest lockdown and quarantine measures. They included country-wide curfews; a complete lack of movement outside of one’s home, including bans on driving or taking out one’s trash; and systematic governmental distribution of bread and medicines to the entire country. Over the months to follow, these extreme measures were lifted, and instead implemented in targeted hotspots. However, fears of widespread outbreaks remained. While the rather severe lockdown measures were received quite well domestically, they proved unsustainable for the longer-term livelihoods of the more than 650,000 registered Syrian refugees in the country. Most of these Syrian refugees live in a variety of urban areas (81 percent), with a significant number also residing in camps (over 125,000), which means that these coronavirus prevention techniques have different outcomes in the two groups. Using 305 quantitative surveys distributed to Syrian refugees in both urban areas and camps, we found that 91 percent of all the respondents indicated that coronavirus had a significant impact on their lives. The field report discusses that out-of-camp refugees reported distinctive vulnerabilities under the coronavirus prevention measures, most acutely through decreased mobility, which reduces incomes, prevents continuation of in-person schooling, and increases loneliness and isolation more than their peers residing in camps.
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