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The knock-on effects of COVID-19

The virus hits Europe

Europe has not escaped COVID-19 nor the constraints it has brought – indeed at times it has been the epicentre of the pandemic. From France and Belgium to Spain and Italy, there have been periods when hospitals have reached maximum capacity and healthcare staff have had to work 24-hour shifts. All of this has impacted care for patients with medical conditions not related to COVID-19. In Paris, many homeless people, including migrants and asylum seekers, have had to cope with changes to, or even the closure of, their usual care facilities or the associations that support them. In response, MSF teams have been running mobile clinics for people living on the streets, many of whom are the invisible victims of the knock-on effects of COVID-19.

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“I cannot see a doctor because I don’t have any documents”

Seco is from Gambia and lives on the streets of Paris. Like many other homeless people, he has had difficulties getting medical treatment for his skin condition during the pandemic. With no information on where to go for medical care, his only option is MSF’s mobile clinic, which provides COVID-19 tests and general healthcare to people living on the streets

Mobile clinics for homeless people

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“We have to increase the frequency of our mobile clinics”

Jean-François Véran is project coordinator of MSF’s mobile clinics in France. He has seen a change in the types of people coming for food distributions and basic medical assistance in Paris during the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite everything he has witnessed, Jean-François is optimistic and is looking forward to a future where physical distancing and COVID-19 tests are no longer a daily reality.
Laurie Bonnaud/MSF