Staying at home to protect themselves from the virus is not a choice for people fleeing abuse or persecution. However, as countries react to the epidemic, access to asylum and other protections that would protect vulnerable refugees has been severely restricted. Closed borders, on the other hand, have made it more difficult to exercise the right. Detention, persecution, and refoulement are also much more likely for refugee. Some are being returned to the same dangers they attempted to flee. Of course, states have the right to manage their territories and boundaries, and it's understandable that during a pandemic, they'll take extra precautions to keep the virus from spreading. Despite these limitations, many countries have shown that access to asylum and security procedures can be maintained.
While public health is a compelling reason to invoke exceptional national security measures, the international community should keep nations responsible in order to avoid closing ports of entry in such tense times. We are currently “witnessing the highest rate of human displacement on record,” according to UNHCR. 70.8 million people have been forcibly displaced, with 41.3 million of them being internally displaced. The number of asylum seekers has not decreased, but rather increased, in the current refugee crisis (Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia). Thus, in order to prevent a worsening of the world's greatest humanitarian crisis, international law must not be ignored or weakened, and harsher condemnation must be increased.