Covid-19 : FXB Update in Asia

Posted on 25 March 2020

FXB International is closely monitoring the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic in Asia and every country where we intervene in order to protect the beneficiaries of our programs and our teams in the field. It should be noted that the situation is evolving very quickly.

Please find below an update on the latest developments of the Covid-19 pandemic in the countries where FXB operates in Asia.

FXB China

Situation: 47 new cases registered (only 1 of national origin). Schools are still closed. Many businesses are restarting and restrictions on people going out on the streets have been reduced by 90%. China lifted today the drastic restrictions imposed for several months in Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. 

FXB team: All have been properly trained and are well equipped (masks, disinfectant).

In the field: The education – capacity building program for women has not formally resumed since any collective gathering is still forbidden. The staff visits the families individually, respecting the rules of distance, and works on the implementation of the skills acquired during the program in the families. 

FXB Myanmar

Situation: Three official cases of coronavirus reported at this stage. Schools are closed. Suspension of visas and only Yangon, Naypyitaw and Mandalay airports are open. Temporary closure of land borders between Myanmar and neighboring countries. 

Yangon office: Creation of an information-sharing group and regular messages on COVID-19 developments and recommendations are send to staff in other regions. Prevention posters have been created by the Yangon office for the communities in which we operate across the country and all local offices have been equipped with thermometers, masks and disinfectant. Even if many are working from home, the spatial layout of the offices has been reorganized to have a correct social distance and the temperature of the employees is taken every morning. 

In the field: There are no more group training activities and our vocational training centre is closed until April 30. People (FXB graduates) who produce for our FXB Showroom social store in Yangon can continue work from home under instructors distance coaching. 

FXB Teams from Yangon Region, Kayin, Mon and Rakhine States are now partnering with the Ministry of Health. This involves spreading awareness messages and protective barrier gestures in the most vulnerable communities and setting up surveillance systems and/or centers for people who will be quarantined to stop the spread of the virus

We have put measures in place to try to limit the movement of the communities. 

FXB Mongolia

Situation: 6 confirmed cases of COVID-19, all in Ulaanbaatar. Schools are closed until 31 March. No community activities or special events are allowed until that date and employees of organizations in general are required to work from home. Women with children under 5 children must remain confined to their homes. Since the beginning of the crisis in China, roads and train stations have been temporarily closed intermittently. Since 16 March, some sectors have resumed work but with reduced hours. Every day, the Mongolian government broadcasts prevention and information messages on television and mobile phones. 

At the Sainshand Office: The team remained in contact by mobile phone with each other and with (sedentary) beneficiaries during the period of strict confinement that ended on 16 March. Since then, two staff members have returned to the office for a few hours every day and wear masks. The social worker who has a baby does not come to the office. 

In the field: The sedentary beneficiaries received regular prevention messages during individual calls and a follow-up of the activities through the sending of photos has been carried out. Our nomadic beneficiaries do not have a network. We still have to wait until 31 March to visit them. 

A Facebook page has been created to organize the collective online trainings for the sedentary beneficiaries. The team is very frustrated not to have any news from the nomadic beneficiaries.

FXB India

Situation: Nearly 600 confirmed cases of VIDOC-19. The Government of India has introduced drastic restrictions only since yesterday: closure of all non-essential shops, shutting down of public transport, closure of schools, closure of the borders between every small district in the country, total curfews in the evening in some areas and the introduction of social distance standards. These restrictions are going to be very complicated to implement for the modest or poor people who make up the bulk of India’s population. The density is terrible in the slums; houses are mostly composed of one room for 5 to 6 people. Consequently, the habit is to live mainly outside the houses. Moreover, food chains are mainly located in open markets where millions of people gather every day. 

In the field: Everyone is quarantined. 

In response to the notice issued by the Central Government and the Government of Rajasthan, FXB must temporarily suspend the care of children in the FXB Home in Jaipur and cease all activities to intercept runaway children arriving daily at the railway station, refer them to government care facilities and/or enter into negotiations and mediation with families for a safe return home. Most children who run away to India do so because of poverty or abuse. One child goes missing every 10 minutes.

Over the past two weeks, FXB has been teaching children prevention messages about VIDOC-19 and the “barrier gestures” to adopt. The team has been showing them stories of what is happening around the world to raise awareness. Yesterday, each child received a kit containing soap, disinfectant and protective masks. They also have the phone number of the social worker they can reach at any time. If travel is totally forbidden, we will intervene in emergency situations, via the police, with whom we work closely at Jaipur Station. 

This confinement will undoubtedly exacerbate the abuse of children and women. FXB India Suraksha remains on the front line of relief efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. One child goes missing every 10 minutes in India. Abducted or sold to child traffickers, many also run away to escape poverty, abuse or mistreatment in their families. The Childline set up by the government is a telephone hotline for children in distress. It is used by 25,000 children every day. Free of charge, the childline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. FXBIS manages it for Manipur and Uttar Pradesh States. The goal is to intervene within 60 minutes of the child’s call and get the child to safety. The main interventions concern abuses committed or to be committed – child trafficking, early marriages, sexual abuse or violence.