What has Germany done to inform and protect asylum seekers in the Covid-19 pandemic?

Author: Tanushree Basuroy

This article is part of Changing the Narrative. Articles in this series are written by student or early career journalists who took part in The Local’s training course on solutions-focused migration reporting. Find out more about the project here.

German authorities launched multilingual campaigns to make Covid-19 information more accessible, but concerns remain over the safety of asylum reception centres.

At the beginning of November 2020, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a partial lockdown as a second wave of coronavirus swept across Germany. The new lockdown, which now looks set to last until the end of January, limits travelling and socializing and has closed bars, restaurants and cultural institutions. The public health ministry continues to emphasise the importance of social distancing, mask-wearing and proper personal hygiene.

For vulnerable groups, following the rules is not always straightforward. In the early months of the novel coronavirus pandemic, several reports across Europe highlighted concerns about the welfare of asylum seekers in reception centres.

“Refugees who have only a limited understanding of the German language are dependent on social media or friends in order to be informed. The refugees from the camps in Eisenhüttenstadt, Wünsdorf, Doberlug-Kirchhain and of course from all others, smaller homes in Berlin/Brandenburg, don’t get the seriousness of the situation from reliable sources,” stated Women in Exile & Friends, an NGO operating in Germany.


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