PARIS/NEW YORK, March 19, 2020—This week, the international medical humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), will expand its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and begin providing assistance in Paris and the surrounding region to help the strengthen France’s health authorities’ capacity to prevent and treat cases.
MSF’s activities will focus on vulnerable communities including migrants, the homeless, and unaccompanied minors, who are often forced to live in unsanitary conditions in substandard housing or in overcrowded, makeshift encampments. These living conditions not only foster the spread of the virus but cause poor health for the people living there—many of whom are excluded from the health care system.
“In the context of the coronavirus epidemic, we are particularly concerned about the fate of people in precarious situations," explains MSF’s Deputy Operations Director Pierre Mendiharat. “If nothing is done to detect and isolate cases, the disease risks spreading among [these groups] particularly quickly.”