Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report

Highlights

  • June was a critical month for the COVID-19 outbreak across Southern and Eastern Africa.
  • COVID-19 cases more than quadrupled in Malawi and South Africa; more than tripled in Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe; and more than doubled in Madagascar.
  • In East Africa, 92 per cent of working women are employed in the informal sector, heightening the risks they face of sexual exploitation and abuse due to economic vulnerability.
  • Reports of gender-based violence have increased. However, service providers are not always being recognized as essential workers and women's organizations are underfunded.
  • The Global Humanitarian Response Plan is just 23 per cent funded. More resources are urgently needed to enable partners to scale-up their response.
COVID-19 map

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report

Key Figures

354,395
total cases in the region (as of 15 July)
5,826
total deaths
26
countries affected in the region

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Contacts

Guiomar Pau Sole

Head, Communications & Information Management Unit

Saviano Abreu

Communications Team Leader

Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Angola — Trends

Government replaces the State of Emergency by a State of Calamity

  • First case: 19 March 2020

  • Total cases: 353 (as of 6 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 10

  • Schools: Closed (affecting nearly 8.7 million learners).

  • Borders/flights: All international flights cancelled effective from 20 March 2020. All land borders closed.

  • Containment measures: National State of Emergency declared on 27 March and replaced by State of Calamity on 26 May; domestic travel allowed only for seeking/providing essential services; 14-day self-quarantine for those who had contact with symptomatic people.

Situation:

Angola had confirmed that 353 people contracted COVID-19 in the country, including 10 who died from the disease, as of 6 July. The Government replaced on 26 May the State of Emergency declared two months before over the coronavirus outbreak by a State of Calamity. The new measure will be in place until further notice and, according to the Government, will enable the country to gradually open its economic and social activities while keeping specific COVID-19 prevention rules. Angola’s capital Luanda, the only region reportedly with active cases of COVID-19, remains under sanitary cordon during the State of Calamity, and closed for movements in and out of the city. Essential service providers, humanitarian workers and people seeking medical assistance are allowed to cross Luanda’s borders. The rest of the country will resume activities in a phased manner, with shops, hotels, factories, farming and fisheries already allowed to operate. The plan to reopen schools on 13 July has been postponed. When the State of Emergency was previously declared, all non-essential internal travel, meetings and public activities had been banned and all schools closed. International flights to and from Angola were suspended on 20 March and the country has also prohibited circulation of people at land borders during the same period. Docking and disembarkation of cargo ships and crew members for medical assistance and humanitarian reasons remain operational.

Separately, on 5 May Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Government to release detainees and improve the capacity to prevent and respond to coronavirus cases in the overcrowded prisons across the country to prevent a health disaster. In a statement, HRW also denounced that the country is allegedly arresting and placing hundreds of people in custody for low-level crimes, leading to a daily influx of new detainees. The Ministry of Home Affairs reportedly apologized, during a public statement on 9 June, to injured citizens and families who have lost their relatives due to excessive force from Defence and National Security officers during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to media reports. At least 10 police officers accused of killing citizens during the State of Emergency implemented since 27 March have reportedly been arrested, with their criminal cases forwarded to prosecutors, according to the Ministry, quoted by the media. Under the State of Calamity implemented on 26 May, some 1,671 citizens have been arrested by the Defence and Security forces.

COVID-19 has arrived in Angola at a time when much of the population was already struggling to meet their basic needs. In 2018-2019, southern Angola experienced a devastating drought - with temperatures the highest seen in 45 years - driving increasing hunger and malnutrition, especially in Cunene, Huíla, Bié and Namibe provinces. Angola is also facing macro-economic challenges following multiple consecutive years of economic contraction since 2014, when the country was hit by the oil price crisis. At least 40.6 per cent of the population live below the national poverty line, and nearly 1 in 2 people (47.6 per cent) live below the international poverty line of US$1.9 per day. COVID-19 is expected to exacerbate the situation for the most vulnerable, with 72.6 per cent of the population relying on informal employment.

Response:

  • The Government has approved a National Contingency Plan to Control the Epidemic.

  • Additional health care spending to mitigate COVID-19, estimated at US$40 million, has been announced and tax exemptions on humanitarian aid and donations have been granted.

  • A contingent of over 250 health professionals sent from Cuba on 10 April completed quarantine and has been deployed across the country.

  • The Ministry of Social Action, Family and Women Empowerment will disburse AOA 315 million (nearly US$562,500) to support food distribution to vulnerable groups.

  • UN entities in Angola have reallocated $16 million to support the Government-led response to COVID-19, including $12.5 million for the health response and $3.5 million for food security in Namibe, Huila, Cunene and Cuando Cubango provinces.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health

Other links:

Potential Socioeconomic Impact of COVID-19 in Angola: A Brief Analysis, by UNHABITAT/UNDP

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Botswana — Trends

Capital city lifts lockdown after COVID-19 scares

  • First case: 30 March

  • Total cases: 314 (as of 7 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 1

  • Schools: Reopening gradually since 2 June (609,146 learners affected)

  • Flights/Borders:  Closed since 16 March for specific countries, and totally closed since 2 April, except for nationals returning home.

  • Containment measures: State of Emergency declared from 2 April 2020, and extended for the next six months; most restrictions were lift on 21 May, but some measures must be observed, including the use of masks, and permits are needed to travel across regions.

Situation:

Botswana confirmed that 314 people in the country had contracted COVID-19 as of 7 July. Although the gradual lifting of restrictions was concluded by the Government on 20 May, the capital Gaborone was in lockdown from 12 to 15 July due to a surge in positive cases. The State of Public Emergency declared on 2 April has, however, been extended by the Parliament for six months. The use of face masks is mandatory in public transport and shared spaces. Companies are required to continue the daily screening and registration of all employees, including measuring temperatures and checking other COVID-19 symptoms, shared spaces must be frequently disinfected and workers should use face masks and observe social distancing rules.

Public schools started to re-open in a phased manner from 2 June, according to the Permanent Secretary for Basic Education, quoted by the media. Private schools resumed activities since 15 May, according to the media. The Government informed that hand-washing facilities are being installed at the schools and thermometers will be delivered. Schools are reportedly procuring face masks and parents will supposedly have to buy them at a subsidized price, according to the media.

For the next months, the country has been divided into nine containment zones that will be used to restrict movements by specific areas and allow swift responses in the event of additional COVID-19 outbreaks. Travels across zones require previous authorization.

Response:

  • The Government has established the COVID-19 Relief Fund encourages the private sector, individuals and organizations to contribute.

  • An economic package was approved, and will facilitate loans by commercial banks to businesses mostly affected by COVID-19 and give tax concessions to businesses in eligible sectors.

  • From 20 April, the Government informed it will start a massive screening campaign across all regions, while implementing measures to ensure that citizens have sufficient potable water and sanitation services.

Official sources:

Botswana Government Official Twitter and Botswana Government website

Presidential address declaring the State of Emergency - 31 March

First containment measures - 16 March 2020

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Burundi — Trends

Over 100 people in the country contracted the virus

  • First case: 31 March 2020

  • Total cases: 170 (as of 28 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 1

  • Schools: Open (except for the French and Belgian schools)

  • Flights/Borders: All international passenger flights and visa issuance suspended on 22 March, except for cargo, humanitarian aid, diplomatic community and ambulance flights. WFP Humanitarian Air Service is authorized and organizing inbound and outbound passengers flights for humanitarians and related services. The land borders, temporarily closed with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, have been reopened on 15 April to allow the movement of goods and commodities. The border with Tanzania has remained open for the movement of goods and for the return of Burundians in their country.

  • Containment measures: Since 5 March, self-financed 14-day quarantine is mandatory for travellers and anyone who has had contact with symptomatic people. Burundian refugees returning from Tanzania within the voluntary repatriation programme are exempt from this quarantine measure, except for those displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

Situation:

In Burundi, 170 people had contracted COVID-19 , including one person who died from disease, as of 28 June. The testing capacity is, however, limited, with 1,335 tests conducted so far, around 108 tests per 1 million inhabitants , out of a population of nearly 12 million. Meanwhile, there are unofficial reports of increasing patient admissions to hospitals with COVID-19--like symptoms, as well as multiple deaths due to respiratory failure.

The country has had over 2,500 people in mandatory quarantine, including 650 children (some unaccompanied), pregnant women and elderly citizens. There are reports that many people confined in hotels, motels, or other Government designated buildings do not have the financial capacity to complete their 14-day quarantine. In addition, the lack of triage and isolation facilities, the inadequate logistical and operational capacity of rapid response teams and other frontline health workers, as well as the shortage of safe water, sanitation and hygiene equipment throughout the country constrains the response effort. UNHCR has requested that the Government suspend voluntary repatriation until effective COVID-19 protective measures are in place, such as providing accommodation to enable a two-week quarantine for Burundian repatriates.

Heavy rains and flooding between April and May caused destruction of key infrastructure and affected around 50,000 people across the country, most of whom are displaced, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmissions in temporary camps. In Bujumbura Rural Province alone, a hospital, three health facilities and a COVID-19 isolation centre were flooded, disrupting key health services. Meanwhile, the Government and partners have been working to increase training of health personnel in the detection, diagnosis, and surveillance of respiratory diseases, as well as hygiene awareness among the population. This is especially important to protect the most vulnerable groups in the country, including internally displaced people, returnees, host communities and over 1.7 million people facing hunger.

Separately, on 14 May the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi called on the Government to act with transparency and comply with the international standards of human rights and humanitarian assistance during the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The statement comes after the Foreign Ministry declared on 13 May the country's WHO representative in Burundi and three health experts working in the UN emergencies team "persona non grata" and as such, ordered the four members to leave the territory of Burundi over an alleged disagreement on the management of the pandemic.

Response:

  • In parallel to the Strategic Response Plan developed by the WHO and partners, a contingency plan has been prepared by the Government, requesting US$58.2 million. To date, over $15 million has been pledged or made available for the COVID-19 response efforts.Some partners are also in the process of reprogramming and reallocating the Ebola funding towards the COVID-19 response.

  • The National Steering Committee for Public Health Emergency Management, chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight Against AIDS, has been reactivated, together with pillar-based technical working groups.

  • Health authorities are screening travellers and have supplied laboratories with COVID-19 testing kits, however both require enhancements.

  • A campaign has been launched to tell people about the COVID-19 preventive measures and a hotline is answering questions from the public. The service is however overwhelmed, and a call centre with greater capacity is needed.

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in Burundi and its humanitarian impact, check out the OCHA Burundi Situation Report, available in English and French.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Minister of Health Twitter

Other links

OCHA Burundi – COVID-19 Information page – Humanitarian Response

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Comoros — Trends

Challenges in scaling up testing capacity as COVID-19 patients rise

  • First case: 30 April

  • Total cases: 317 (as of 11 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 7

  • Schools: Closed (277,099 learners affected)

  • Flights/Borders: All international passenger flights suspended; only cargo accepted. Sea travel between islands suspended.

  • Containment measures: Mandatory quarantine for travellers from countries with COVID-19 confirmed cases. COVID-19 negative certificate needed to enter the country. Multiple measures taken to restrict gatherings.

Situation

The Comoros registered its first case of a person with COVID-19 on 30 April. Since then, the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 317, with seven deaths, as of 11 July. Until the confirmation of the first case, the Government had no testing capacity, which raised alarms of a possible unreported coronavirus outbreak in some of the islands. The first testing centre started operations at the end of April, after the Government informed it had received the equipment and supplies on 23 April. Although the Government has been receiving donations of medical supplies to support the pandemic response, the country is still facing challenges to scale up its testing capacity, according to humanitarians in the country.

President Azali Assoumani announced on 26 April an indefinite nationwide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. to strengthen other precautionary measures imposed since 20 March. The country suspended all international commercial passenger flights from 20 March and the National Agency for Maritime Affairs restricted all movements of people coming from any nation that reported a coronavirus outbreak. Sea travels between Comoros’ islands have also been suspended until further notice. All public festivities and gatherings have been suspended until further notice, including any collective prayers at the mosques. Weddings are restricted to no more than 20 people and burials to only family members, relatives of the deceased, and residents of the villages concerned.

Response

  • On 4 June, the Government informed that WHO Regional Office for Africa deployed a team of 14 experts to support the national human resources in response to COVID-19, following a request from the Minister of Health. The group includes epidemiologists, laboratory managers, pulmonologists, infectologists and resuscitators, among others.

Official sources:

Government COVID-19 webpage

Other links:

U.S. Embassy in Madagascar and Comoros - 18 April Health Advisory

Worldometer's COVID-19 data

Which countries have not reported any coronavirus cases, by Al Jazeera

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Djibouti — Trends

Government eased some restrictions while number of people with COVID-19 approaches 5,000

  • First case: 17 March 2020

  • Total cases: 4,878 (as of 7 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 55

  • Schools: Closed, affecting over 142,000 learners. Classes continue through distance learning.

  • Borders/Flights:  Passenger flights, stopped on 8 March, are expected to resume on 17 July. Cargo flights, port operations and shipments continue to proceed normally, with some delays as most cargo arrives on commercial flights. .

  • Containment measures: Quarantine mandatory for those who have had contact with positive cases; lockdown restricting of movements and closure of all non-essential services declared on 24 March and relaxed on 17 May, allowing most business to operate normally.

Situation:

With 4,878 cases confirmed as of 7 July, the country has been experiencing a downward trend in the daily number of patients contracting COVID-19 since mid-June, partly due to a lower number of tests conducted. Djibouti is the country with the highest prevalence of the disease in the continent. Recent rains and floods across the country have affected more than 110,000 people and displaced many of them, increasing the risk of community transmission.

The Government announced on 10 May the gradual lift of COVID-19-related restrictions from 17 May, when the extended State of Emergency expired. Most business and economic activities were allowed to resume, following specific guidelines, including the use of mask and social distance. The lockdown was imposed on 23 March, with all stores closed with the exception of food markets, pharmacies, banks and gas stations. Schools have also been closed, affecting 142,564 learners countrywide. The Government is planning to re-open the ariport for commercial flights on 17 July, which has been closed since 8 March. Cargo flights were allowed to operate normally.

Response:

  • The Ministry of Health and its partners have increased their preparedness by building surveillance, testing, quarantine and health worker capacity. WHO has delivered protective and medical equipment, including tests and respirators.

  • On 9 April, the United Nations organized a virtual conference on COVID-19, with the participation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the spokesperson for the Government, the Minister for the Economy and Finance, religious leaders, the representative of WHO and the United Nations Resident Coordinator. The conference discussed Government and UN response actions to the COVID-19 crisis.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Ministry of Health website

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

United Nations Country Team in Djibouti - Situation Reports

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
DR Congo — Trends

Significant spike in COVID-19 cases amidst another Ebola outbreak in the country

  • First case: 10 March 2020

  • Total cases: 6,826 (as of 28 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 157

  • Schools: Closed (19.1 million learners affected).

  • Borders/flights: All borders closed.

  • Containment measures: State of Emergency decreed by the Head of State since 24 March to halt the spread of the pandemic in the DRC; The capital, Kinshasa, is under lockdown, which includes restrictions to travel between the city and the rest of the country and the prohibition of all gatherings of people in public spaces.

Situation:

On 10 March, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recorded its first case. Since then, the country has recorded a significant increase in cases, from 1,024 cases in 10 May to 6,826, to date. As part of its COVID-19 response, the Government declared on 24 March a State of Emergency and imposed the confinement of the capital, Kinshasa, which includes restrictions to travel between Kinshasa and the rest of the country and the prohibition of all gatherings of people in public spaces. The first mass screening centre was opened on 26 May in one of the city’s largest football stadium, with the aim of expanding the case detection system. In addition, the European Union announced that it was allocating 5 million euros to support the Saint -Joseph hospital, that will serve to strengthen the response capacity to the virus and improve the overall provision of health services. The first of three aircrafts, as part of the EU’s humanitarian airlift to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), carried 170 humanitarian workers from 41 humanitarian agencies and 40 tons of basic humanitarian supplies to help the country meet their endemic requirements and on 7 June. The country is still struggling to stop its recurring Ebola epidemic, that, according to WHO figures, has infected approximately 3,500 people and killed 2,280 in addition to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Response:

The multi-sectoral humanitarian plan specific to the COVID-19 response is an addendum to the Humanitarian Response Plan 2020 (HRP) in order to integrate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on existing humanitarian needs and on the activities of humanitarian partners. This plan is in line with :

1) The COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) - 287.8 millions USD for DRC.

2) The COVID-19 epidemic preparedness and response plan in the Democratic Republic of Congo developed by the government

This multi-sectoral humanitarian plan describes the humanitarian needs and response to assist the most vulnerable people affected directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The plan therefore supports the national response plan but is not limited to the activities described in the national response plan. The plan is established until December 2020 in alignment with the GHRP and the HRP 2020.

The World Bank has approved the disbursement of US$445 million under its Eastern DRC Stabilization for Peace Project (STEP 2).  Through this funding nearly 2.5 million people will benefit from the construction and maintenance of 2,000 basic infrastructure facilities, including at least 500 schools to support the free primary education program, and 300,000 people will receive cash transfers in the 1,000 targeted communities worth $100 million. As part of the COVID-19 response, this project aims to reallocate and mobilize funds to mitigatesocio-economic impacts on the Congolese population and better protect the most vulnerable households, via schemes such as creating more than 1.3 million temporary work days for vulnerable people, equipping 45,000 households with improved agro-pastoral technologies. Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter

Other links:

Global Humanitarian Response Plan 2020

DRC World Health Organisation Country Office

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Eswatini — Trends

Partial lockdown to continue to contain the COVID-19 pandemic

  • First case: 16 March 2020

  • Total cases: 1,056 (as of 7 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 14

  • Schools: Closed (nearly 378,000 learners affected).

  • Borders/Flights:  Only cargo, returning citizens and legal residents allowed to enter the country since 27 March. Some land border posts closed, including Sicunisa, Gege, Lundzi, Sandlane, Bulembu and Nsalitje.

  • Containment measures: Domestic travel allowed only for seeking/providing essential services; 14-day self-quarantine required for those who had contact with symptomatic people.

Situation:

In Eswatini, the number of people who contracted COVID-19 surpassed the 1,000 mark on 6 July, according to the Ministry of Health. With a faster increase in cases since mid-May, the Government extended on 20 June the State of Emergency. Since 12 June, most business were allowed to gradually resume activities, except for liquor outlets and those falling within COVID-19 hotspots. The Government announced that the reopening of schools, also expected for 12 June, would be postponed until at least 13 July.  The Government announced on 4 July new measures and interventions, including re-opening of more business from 13 July, and places of worship from 19 July. Since 27 March, only cargo, returning citizens and legal residents are allowed to enter the country. Patients who knowingly expose others to coronavirus may be arrested and prosecuted for attempted murder or murder. Refusal to quarantine, the spread of false information or failure in complying with COVID-19 Regulations will be punished by up to five years in prison or a fine not exceeding 25,000 Emalangeni (around US$1,300), depending on the offence.

The containment measures are reportedly exacerbating pre-existing humanitarian needs in Eswatini. There are reports of increasing hunger in some communities, including Kwaluseni Township, in the Manzini District, where most of the population reportedly lost their incomes with the closure of factories. Across the country, more than 11,000 vulnerable children have reportedly been left without their main nutritional daily meal, following the closure of all Government’s Neighbourhood Care Points, where they previously received two meals a day, according to media reports. The situation has compounded the closure of schools and the interruption of the school feeding scheme. The Ministry of Health encouraged farmers to embark on the production of maize, beans, vegetables and other food crops during the winter season.

Response:

  • The Government reports that additional health workers, including eight doctors, 145 nurses, environmental health specialists, and paramedics have been recruited and 1,007 nurses, 147 doctors and over 3,000 rural health motivators have been trained on COVID-19 case management.

Official sources:

Eswatini Government Official Twitter and Kingdom of Eswatini COVID-19 Situation Reports

Eswatini COVID-19 Regulations - 27 March 2020

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

Global Monitoring of School Meals During COVID-19 School Closures, by WFP

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Ethiopia — Trends

Pandemic likely to increase the already high food insecurity in the country

  • First case: 13 March 2020

  • Total cases: 5,846 (as of 29 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 103

  • Schools: Closed (24.5 million learners affected)

  • Flights/Borders: Although all land borders remain closed, except for essential goods, rail services are operational. The main airport is open for international flights, although Ethiopian Airlines has been forced to suspend services to various destinations. United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) cargo and passenger operations still ongoing; Addis Abeba is one of the hubs for the UNHAS global passenger air service for humanitarian and health workers to destinations not served commercially.

  • Containment measures: All passengers arriving in Ethiopia are placed in a mandatory quarantine at several designated hotels for 14 days at their own expense as of 23 March 2020.

Situation:

Since Ethiopia recorded its first COVID-19 infection on 13 March, nearly 6,000 people contracted the virus and more than 100 died from the disease, according to the Ministry of Health. The country declared a State of Emergency on 8 April for five months, closing schools and universities, banning public gatherings and requiring most employees to work from home. In addition, regional authorities have imposed strict measures limiting population movements within the regions, although the inter-regional public transports services across the country have resumed on 17 April.

The measures have impacted ongoing humanitarian operations, including COVID-19 response activities, according to partners in the country. Some essential health services such as measles and polio immunization campaigns have been disrupted, according to UNICEF. While humanitarian organizations continue to work with authorities to establish the appropriate mechanism to enable the continuity of life-saving operations, an estimated 15 million people could experience food consumption gaps as a result of COVID-19, according to the Government’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) and the Food Cluster. The risk of transmissions and increased humanitarian need is especially high amongst the 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDP) living in collective sites or host communities across the country. Almost all IDPs have limited capacity to follow the recommended norms of social distance and lack access to proper hygiene facilities and supplies such as soaps. In most IDP sites, shelters are crowded, and many people sleep in groups or crowded communal halls. Cases of intimidation related to the stigmatization of foreigners and Ethiopian diasporas in field locations have also been reported. In addition, thousands of Ethiopians have been deported, mainly from Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan since the beginning of the outbreak, increasing challenges related to their reception and assistance.

COVID-19 has arrived in Ethiopia at a time when more than 7 million people were already severely food insecure and struggling to meet their basic needs. The county has also been dealing with other outbreaks, including cholera and measles, putting more pressure on the already weak health system.

Response:

  • The Government of Ethiopia prepared a multi-sector national COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan for the next three months, appealing for US$ 1.76 billion.

  • At the Federal level, the multi-sector COVID-19 response is coordinated by the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) led by the Commissioner of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC). All humanitarian partners are supporting the centre.

  • At the country regional level, coordination centres have been established. NDRMC will be working to ensure that regional Coordination Forums mirror the Federal Coordination Mechanism.

  • The Government and partners are expanding quarantine and isolations centres to all points of entry (air and land) and major cities; extending the number of testing facilities to cover major cities; carrying out house-to-house COVID-19 surveillance and community awareness;

  • The humanitarian system reactivated the Logistics Cluster to coordinate demands for emergency COVID-19 supplies throughout the country.

  • On 14 April, the Government of Ethiopia and the World Food Program (WFP) opened the Addis Ababa Humanitarian Air Hub inside the Bole International Airport. COVID-19 supplies, equipment and humanitarian workers will be transported from the hub across 32 countries in Africa. The Addis Ababa Humanitarian Air hub is part of a United Nations initiative to scale up procurement and distribution of protective equipment and medical supplies for the COVID19 response.

Official sources:

Minister of Health Twitter and The Ministry of Health website

Other links:

Ethiopia COVID-19 Humanitarian impact

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Kenya — Trends
Save the Children
Save the Children distributes infection prevention supplies, including chlorine, sanitizers, gloves, sprayers and surgical masks to health-care facilities in informal settlements in Nairobi.

Government lifts ban on inter-county travel, in a planned phased re-opening of the economy

  • First case: 15 March

  • Total cases: 8,528 (as of 8 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 169

  • Schools: Closed country-wide until January 2021 (15.3 million learners affected).

  • Borders/Flights: All international passenger flights suspended from 25 March, except for inbound and outbound repatriations and cargo. International commercial flighs to re-start on 1 August. Borders with Somalia and Tanzania closed since 17 May, except for cargo.

  • Containment measures: Countrywide curfew (9 p.m. to 4 a.m.) effective from 7 June; public gatherings limited to 10 people; masks to be worn in public areas.

Situation:

With over 8,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 169 people who died from the disease as of 8 July June, the President announced on 6 July a phased reopening of the country as pressure mounts to kick-start the country's ailing economy after four months of coronavirus restrictions. International air travel in and out of Kenya is expected to resume on 1 August, while domestic flights are to restart on 15 July, subject to health regulations. The President further announced a lifting of the ban of movement in and out of the capital, Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa and north-eastern Mandera county, and extended the current nationwide curfew between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. for a further 30 days, warning that the country would revert this measure should the situation deteriorate. Places of worship will be allowed to reopen, but restricted to one hour with a maximum of 100 people aged between 13 and 57 years. The Minister for Education announced on 7 July the cancellation of the 2020 academic year. All schools in the country will remain closed until January 2021, while colleges and universities are to re-open in September if they abide by strict guidelines. The land borders with Somalia and Tanzania were closed on 17 May, except for cargo, following increasing number of cases in border areas. COVID-19 test is, since then, mandatory for all drivers of transborder cargo vehicles and those who have the virus will not be allowed to entry Kenya.

On 22 April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) launched a report denouncing several allegedly cases of police violence. According to HRW, officers shot and beat people at markets or returning home from work, even before the daily start of the curfew. The organization documented cases of police breaking into homes and shops, extorting money from residents or looting food in several locations across the country. The Government of Kenya's Independent Policing Oversight Authority has recorded at least 35 cases of police brutality related to enforcement of the COVID-19 curfew, 12 of which resulted in death, and has opened investigations into a number of the cases.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Gender-Based Violence cases has also increased. UNFPA estimates that a total of 247,334 women of reproductive age are at risk of sexual violence and are need of services. 

Response:

  • The Government has earmarked Ksh40 billion (approximately US$377.7 million) in funds for additional health expenditure, including enhanced surveillance, laboratory services, isolation units, equipment, supplies, and communication; social protection and cash transfers; food relief; and funds for expediting payments of existing obligations to maintain cash flow for businesses during the crisis.

  • On 9 April, the United Nations and humanitarian partners launched an Emergency Appeal to support the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The plan seeks $267.5 million to respond to the most immediate and critical needs of 10.1 million people that will likely be affected by the current situation.

  • UN and partners are scaling up cash transfers to vulnerable households in informal settlements as COVID-19 restrictions impact access to informal employment, food and essential services. (Read more information on the response in the situation report. )

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Ministry of Health website

WHO Kenya Official Twitter

Fourth Presidential Address on the Coronavirus Pandemic - 17 April 2020

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Interactive

Kenya COVID-19 Cases & Operations Dashboard

Kenya Operations Dashboard

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Lesotho — Trends

Lesotho opens more borders for returning foreign mine workers

  • First case: 13 May

  • Total cases: 134 (as of 8 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 20

  • Schools: Closed (579,807 learners affected)

  • Borders/Flights: All travellers are screened for coronavirus.

  • Containment measures: National Emergency declared 28 March, restricting all movements and closing all non-essential services.

On 8 July, the Ministry of Health confirmed 134 people individuals have contracted COVID-19 in the country. As the country has no testing capacity to date, it relies on South Africa to test people who might have been in contact with the virus. The newly appointed Health Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo, quoted by the media, said that he is working to have a local COVID-19 laboratory up and running in Lesotho as soon as possible. The Lesotho Medical Association have raised concerns over the lack of basic medical supplies and claimed they would not be able to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak should it escaltes in the country.

Before the confirmation of the first case on 13 May, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane had loosened on 6 May some of the lockdown restrictions, allowing shops not classified as essential services to temporarily reopen. All other measures remain in place, including a ban on social gatherings, except for funerals and mandatory quarantine for all travellers. All schools are closed, leaving an estimated 390,000 children without access to school meals, according to WFP. Since the beginning of the National State of Emergency on 28 March, the Prime Minister and Police Commissioner have called on law enforcement agencies to uphold people’s rights during the lockdown period. However, there have been reports of excessive use of force by security officers and the Government also informed about an increasing on criminal activities during the lockdown. On 18 April, the Prime Minister deployed the army onto streets to ‘restore peace and order’, claiming law enforcement institutions were undermining democracy. His announcement on national television came a day after the Constitutional Court overturned his 3-month suspension of Parliament as part of the coronavirus lockdown extension declared on 17 April, according to media reports.

Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, more than a quarter of the population in Lesotho - over half a million people - were facing severe food insecurity as the result of a devastating drought. Humanitarian partners launched a Flash Appeal to respond to the most urgent and life-saving needs, which is just 10 per cent funded. Response:

  • A M700 million (approximately US$38.6 million) fund has been set aside for the National COVID-19 Response Integrated Plan 2020, more than half of which will be used for health care personnel and purchase of critical goods and services, with the remainder covering logistics, security, and border management.

Official sources:

Government of Lesotho webpage and COVID-19 National Command Centre Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Madagascar — Trends

State of Health Emergency extended

  • First case: 20 March 2020

  • Total cases: 3,472 (as of 7 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 33

  • Schools: Closed in specific areas, including Toamasina Town, the rest of the country opened since 22 April.

  • Borders/Flights:  The Government of Madagascar announced a suspension of all international air travel starting 20 March.

  • Containment measures: 14-day quarantine mandatory for individuals who have had possible exposure to COVID-19; Restrictions on movements on the most affected regions of the country, including the capital Antananarivo, Tamatave, Fianarantsoa and Alaotra Mangoro regions.

Situation:

In Madagascar, the total number of people who contracted COVID-19 raised to nearly 3,500 as of 7 July. The Government announced the fifth extension of the State of Emergency for another 15 additional days until 11 July, and maintained a partial containment the districts of Moramanga, Fenerive Est, Toamasina I and II. The Council of Ministers on 5 July declared a 15-day full lockdown in the capital, Antananarivo, until 20 July, following a spike in the number of COVID-19 infections in the city. According to the Ministry of Defence, 500 military forces were going to be mobilized to ensure the respect of all measures related to the full lockdown, and 3,000 others will be on stand-by. International flights, except humanitarian, repatriation and cargo flights, remain suspended until 31 July.

President Andry Rajoelina informed that the country would move to the clinic phase of the investigations to transform the COVID Organics tonic into a drug, which includes injecting the product into patients. The herbal product made with Artemisia annua was launched on 20 April by the President as a cure for the virus and is being distributed in schools and communities across the country. Since then, political parties and medical authorities in the country have been asking for more tests before distributing the product, and asked for an official position from WHO. On 3 May, WHO published a press release welcoming innovations around the world, including traditional medicines, as part of the search for potential treatments for COVID-19, and warning about the risks of using products that have not been robustly investigated. The document specifically highlights that the use of medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua as treatment for COVID-19 should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects. The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Kwesi Quartey, in a tweet published on 13 May informed that the Madagascar's Health Ministry had agreed to collaborate with the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) to investigate the remedy.

Madagascar has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition among children under age 5 in the world, and has been buffeted by floods and drought in recent months. Across the country, more than 567,700 children are no longer receiving vital school feeding, according to WFP.  

Response:

  • Key measures include: (i) increased spending on epidemic prevention and control; (ii) cash-transfers and in-kind necessities to the poorest and those unemployed; and (iii) tax relief, suspension of government fees and waived social contributions.

  • On 12 March 2020, the World Bank provided a grant of US$3.7 million to strengthen prevention against the COVID-19 pandemic, purchase materials and equipment, and train health workers. On 2 April, the World Bank approved $100 million Development Policy Operation (DPO) for budget support to improve the human capital. On 3 April 2020, the IMF approved a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), equivalent to US$165.9 million, to meet the external financing gaps arising from COVID-19.

  • The United Nations and partners have launched a three-month Emergency Appeal calling for $82.3 million to rapidly contain COVID-19 in the country and support millions of people affected by the humanitarian consequences of the pandemic. The Appeal includes support to the country’s weak health system to respond to the outbreak and maintain other basic health services, as well as rapid interventions to provide life-saving and life-sustaining assistance and protection to those most at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Facebook Page and President Official Twitter

Government COVID-19 Official webpage

Other links:

Containment measures extended, by Orange Madagascar

U.S. Embassy Madagascar and Comoros COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Malawi — Trends
Handwashing
Esther Levison teaches her grandson how to wash hands using a hand made tap, in Loyitele,Lilongwe. Photo: UNICEF

Lockdown suspended by the High Court until further notice

  • First case: 2 April 2020

  • Total cases: 2,069 (as of 11 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 31

  • Schools: Closed (5,495,017 learners affected)

  • Borders/flights: All international flights and cross-border passenger and buses banned since 1 April.

  • Containment measures: State of Disaster declared 20 March; domestic travel allowed only for seeking/providing essential services; 14-day self-quarantine for travellers or those who had contact with symptomatic people.

Situation:

Over 2,000 people have contracted COVID-19 in the country, as of 11 July. Since 23 March, there has been a ban on public gatherings and closure of schools and universities; and a ban of all international flights and cross-border passenger buses since 1 April. However, further reinforcement of the COVID-19 containment measures were suspended. The 21-day lockdown expected to start from 18 April was barred by the High Court of Malawi until further notice. The decision followed and application by members of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), who argued that more consultation was needed to prevent harm to the poorest and most vulnerable people. Several groups, including traders and civil sociey organizations, had also called on the Government to reconsider the lockdown and ensure that measures taken to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic include support to vulnerable people who rely on daily wages to feed their families. In response, the Government appealed the High Court decision, but the court injunction suspending was upheld. The Constitutional Court on 9 July instituted a judicial review of the High Court ruling that blocked the national lockdown declared by the then-president Peter Mutharika to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

On 9 July, the Government announced a mandatory use of face masks in all its offices following an increased rate of infections and warned that public and civil servants will not provide services to clients that do not wear face masks. On 6 July, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology postponed indefinitely the opening of schools earlier scheduled for 13 July. The country is also facing challenges in the medical response. Doctors and nurses have repeatedly protested the allegedly unfavorable working conditions, including a critical shortage of personal protective equipment needed to treat COVID-19 patients.

Response:

  • On 8 April, Malawi Government launched the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, with a budget of US$213 million (MWK157 billion). The response plan includes $20 million (0.25 percent of GDP) in spending on health care and targeted social assistance programs. This includes hiring 2,000 additional health care workers.

  • The Minister of Population Planning and Social Welfare reportedly announced on 11 April that all Government social cash transfer beneficiaries will receive a four-month disbursement. The measure aimed to cushion them from the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic and to boost compliance with social distance orders. In addition, on 3 May, the President reportedly announced cash transfers to support informal workers who normally depend on the markets for their livelihood. The Government will reportedly target approximately 172,000 families, representing 35 per cent of the urban population.

  • On 15 April, the World Bank approved $7 million in immediate funding to support Malawi’s response under a new Malawi COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness project. In addition to the new operation, $30 million has been made available from the Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) to strengthen the country’s response to the pandemic.

  • UN and partners launched an Emergency Appeal for $140.1 million to target 7.5 people until October, and have scaled up their response. Since March, a risk communication and community engagement campaign has regularly reached more than 15 million people with support from UN and partners. At least 26,000 people who have entered Malawi during the COVID-19 period, including returnees, have been screened for the virus at the Points of Entry and been assisted with shelter, food, protective items and onward transportation to their final destinations. Six isolation and emergency treatment centres across Malawi have been set up by national authorities with support from the UN and partners. Following closure of schools in March, an emergency education radio programme for six million primary school students and digital learning for more than 15,000 secondary school students to continue learning have been supported. Also, more than 700 community protection workers and women rights promoters are dealing with cases of violence against children, women, adolescent girls and persons with albinism.

Official sources:

Malawi Government Official Twitter and Malawi Government Facebook Page

Ministry of Health COVID-19 Dashboard

Other links:

Malawi Government dispenses 4-month cash transfer to fight COVID-19, by Nyasa Times

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Mauritius — Trends

Schools reopen on 1 July

  • First case: 19 March 2020

  • Total cases: 342 (as of 6 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 10

  • Schools: Open since 1 July.

  • Borders/Flights: Commercial flights have been suspended since 19 March.

  • Containment measures: 14-day quarantine mandatory for individuals who have had possible exposure to COVID-19.

Situation:

In Mauritius, 342 people have tested positive for coronavirus since 19 March, with only two patients receiving treatment as of 6 July, according to the Ministry of Health. The country had previously declared it was COVID-19 free, as no new cases had been registered since 26 April, but new cases were reported among returnees at the end of May.

While borders remain closed, Mauritius lifted, on 15 June, all COVID-19-related restrictions implemented since 20 March. The very strict measures the country had implemented included the citizens only being allowed to leave their homes due to an emergency and shopping organized alphabetically by surname. Schools reopened on 1 July.

Rights groups and lawyers in the country reportedly criticized the Quarantine Act 2020, terming it as controversial and likely to lead to police abuse, according to media reports. The Act, passed on 15 May to address the COVID-19 pandemic, replaces the Quarantine Act from 1954. Activists, quoted by the media, state that the Government took advantage of the strict lockdown situation to pass a controversial bill in just three days, without proper democratic debate. At least five deaths have been reported while in police custody and several cases of police brutality have reportedly been recorded during the two-and-a-half months of confinement, according to the media.

Response:

  • The Government has announced plans to increase general public health spending by Rs208 million (approximately US$5.25 million), with half already disbursed, according to the IMF.

Official sources:

Government of Mauritius Official Twitter and  Government of Mauritius COVID-19 webpage

Other links:

U.S. Embassy in Mauritius Travel Advisory – 14 April 2020

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Mozambique — Trends
Mozambique - COVID sensitization in Mandruzi
IOM health staff and community health workers lead community education and mobilization activities for COVID-19 prevention practices such as frequent handwashing, in Mandruzi resettlement site. Photo: IOM

State of Emergency extended for the third time

  • First case: 23 March 2020

  • Total cases: 1,111 (as of 10 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 9

  • Schools: Closed (7.9 million learners affected).

  • Borders/Flights: Entry for non-nationals and non-residents is restricted.

  • Containment measures: State of Emergency effective 1 April, restricting movements and closing schools and non-essential services; 14-day quarantine for all travellers; use of face masks mandatory in public areas; temporary suspension of issuance of visas.

Situation:

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Mozambique had reached 1,111 as of 10 July, including nine deaths, according to the Ministry of Health. Cabo Delgado Province holds the highest number of infections in the country. President Filipe Nyusi extended the State of Health Emergency for another 30 days starting on 30 June but has announced a relaxation of some restrictions to allow for the function of some sectors of the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to media reports. In maintaining the level three measures, the authorities will reportedly coordinate a phased-out approach for the reopening of several sectors including education, business, culture and tourism, in strict compliance with the preventive measures and protocols defined by health authorities. The Government announced on 7 July that the reopening of schools, closed since March, will begin on 27 July, but only for the 12th grade of secondary education (pre-university), and for teacher training colleges, according to media reports.

On the health response, the Government is collaborating with Cuba to bring 60 doctors to reinforce the COVID-19 operations. Meanwhile, the pandemic has reportedly impacted the country’s economy. According to media reports, 6,115 workers in the tourism industry have reportedly lost their jobs and 1,443 establishments closed their doors since the beginning of the State of Emergency on 1 April. An additional 21,000 people have had their contracts suspended and are on collective leave with no compensation, according to National Union of Hotel, Tourism and Similar Industry Workers, quoted by the media.

Response:

  • The Government has increased the budget allocation for health, from about approximately US$29.8 million (MT 2 billion or about 0.2 per cent of GDP) to about $49.2 million (MT 3.3 billion or 0.3 per cent of GDP).

  • The Government has requested $700 million from partners to help deal with the impact of the pandemic.

  • The UN and humanitarian partners launched a Flash Appeal aimed at providing urgent life-saving and life-supporting assistance to 2.96 million people until December 2020. Out of $68 million appeal, $16 million are destined for the health sector, and $52 million for non-health sectors, especially food security and livelihoods, and water, sanitation and hygiene. (Read more information on the response in the situation report. )

Official sources:

Mozambique Government COVID-19 webpage and Ministry of Health Official Twitter

WHO Mozambique Official Twitter

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Namibia — Trends

Country further eases COVID-19 lockdown

  • First case: 14 March 2020

  • Total number of cases: 785 (as of 12 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 1

  • Schools: Open partially since 2 June

  • Borders/Flights: Commercial flights not operating. Road borders closed for non-resident foreign nationals, with exceptions including people seeking medical treatment, essential services, truck drivers transporting food and other essential commodities.

  • Containment measures: State of Emergency declared 17 March; self-quarantine for returning residents and nationals; mandatory quarantine in isolation facilities for symptomatic cases; ban on gatherings of more than 50 people; clubs, casinos and gambling houses are closed.

Situation:

The country's total number of cases reached 785 as of 12 July. From 23 June, the Government reportedly eased the nationwide coronavirus-related lockdown to the lowest level in 13 of its 14 regions. While most of the country moved from phase three to four, Erongo Region was placed in phase three to avoid an upsurge in cases. With the relaxation, all business, including restaurants and bars, can operate under normal working hours, but alcohol sales are for takeaway only. Gatherings of as many as 250 people for weddings, funerals and religious services are permitted, while the attendance at schools remains voluntary. The State of Emergency declared on 17 March was extended by the Parliament for a period of six months. The borders will remain closed.

Response:

  • On 1 April 2020, the Government launched Economic Stimulus and Relief Package to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 for approximately US$434.5 million (8 billion Namibian Dollars, or 4.25 percent of GDP), including approximately $119.5 million (2.2 billion) for health, wage subsidies, and income grants; and guarantees of up to $124.9 million (2.3 billion) to support low interest loans for small and agricultural businesses, and individuals.

Official sources:

Namibia Presidency Official Twitter and Ministry of Health and Social Services Twitter

Presidential Statement on extension of lockdown

Other links:

Namibian lockdown: Travel with permit allowed, by Namibian newspaper

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Rwanda — Trends

Lockdown partially lifted

  • First case: 14 March

  • Total cases: 900 (as of 28 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 2

  • Schools: Closed (3.4 million learners affected).

  • Borders/flights: Closed since 20 March, except for cargo.

  • Containment measures: Lockdown since 21 March; domestic travels allowed since 1 June; daily curfew from 9 p.m, to 5 a.m; 14-day quarantine for people coming into the country.

Situation:

Rwanda has 900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 28 June, including two people who died from the disease. The Government lifted some of the restrictions from 1 June, the second time the country eases some COVID-19 measures. On 18 May, the daily curfew was reduced, starting from 9 p.m. instead of the previous 8 p.m. and finishing at 5 a.m. and some business resumed activities. Civil weddings have also been allowed with maximum 15 attendees. From 1 june, motorcycle taxis are allowed to resume services and restrictions on cross-provincial movements have also also been lifted. Borders will remain closed, except for goods and cargo, as well returning Rwandans and legal residents. All returnees will be subjected to mandatory quarantine for 14 days at their own cost. Schools will remain closed until September, while churches and bars are still not allowed to open. Preventive measures such as wearing face masks and keeping a one-metre distance from people remain.

Rwanda was one of the first countries in the region to close its borders and restrict movements, on 20 and 21 March respectively. Since then, movement and visits outside homes are only permitted for essential services, including those seeking or providing healthcare, groceries or banking services. With all social gatherings banned, schools and places of worship were closed. There were reports of violence by security forces against people who allegedly violated the lockdown regulations. Some businesses have also been fined for selling commodities at higher prices.

Response:

  • The Government announced a social protection plan to support vulnerable people across the country during the lockdown, with door to door provision of foodstuffs and groceries to vulnerable homes since 28 March.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Ministry of Health COVID-19 webpage

Ministry of Health Statement on New Measures to Prevent COVID-19 Coronavirus Transmission – 14 March

Other links:

BBC Rwanda COVID-19 coverage

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Seychelles — Trends

Surge in COVID-19 infections after the country was declared virus free

  • First case: 14 March

  • Total cases: 77 (as of 28 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 0

  • Schools: Reopened in mid-May.

  • Flights/Borders: Airport and borders reopened on 1 june.

  • Containment measures: Most restrictions are now lifted, with specific guidances to prevent transmissions.

Situation:

After several weeks of not having registered any new COVID-19 infections, at least 66 seafarers have tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Seychelles on 23 June. The seafarers were part of the new crew members assigned to rotate with staff aboard Spanish fishing vessels who had been more than six months in the Seychelles. The new crew had reportedly tested negative for the virus during an exit screening conducted three days prior to their departure from Senegal and Ivory Coast. The seafarers who have tested positive have been isolated on a dedicated ship of the fishing fleet for monitoring by the onboard doctor. Those in need of treatment will be transferred to Mahe, Seychelles’ main island, for treatment. According to the Government, the situation is under control and no plans have been made to postpone the reopening of the country’s international airport to commercial flights scheduled for 1 August.

As announced by President Danny Faure, all restrictions on the movement of people were removed from 4 May, while most services and businesses are now allowed to operate, with specific guidance to be followed by some sectors. Religious services are also allowed, following guidance from the Department of Health. Day-care services resumed on 11 May, while all primary and secondary schools reopened on 18 May. Although the National Assembly approved a non-binding motion calling on the Government to keep the borders closed to visitors until the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled worldwide, the airport resumed activities on 1 June. Tourism businesses in Seychelles will reportedly be required to acquire a safe tourism certificate as the country plans to reactivate the sector and attract visitors, according to media reports. The country expects to receive tourists in chartered flights. These visitors will be expected to test for COVID-19 and will not be allowed to leave their resorts.

Response:

  • The Government announced it will be cut non-essential spending across most ministries, departments and agencies by introducing measures such as placing a freeze on recruitment, restricting travel and reducing allowances. With the cancellation of several festivals and delaying the national census to 2021, the resources saved will be used to finance the construction of an isolation center, increase actual quarantine capacity and other health-related projects.

  • Financial assistance will reportedly be provided to businesses to ensure that all their employees are paid in April, May and June 2020.

Official sources:

Seychelles State House Official Twitter and Ministry of Health webpage  

Additional restrictions of movement in Seychelles, by State House on 16 April

Presidential address on COVID-19 situation on 14 April

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Somalia — Trends

Pandemic likely to compound fragile humanitarian situation

  • First case: 16 March

  • Total cases: 2,904 (as of 29 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 90

  • Schools: Closed (544,000 learners affected)

  • Borders/Flights: Closed for all international passenger flights since 18 March. Cargo flights allowed. Land borders with Kenya and Ethiopia closed. 

  • Containment measures: Curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m imposed on 15 April for the capital Mogadishu. Nationwide ban of public gatherings. Self-quarantine required for travellers or those who had contact with symptomatic people.

Situation:

Somalia had recorded 2,904 COVID-19 cases as of 29 June. Most of the cases have no travel history, signifying community transmission. The country has a weak healthcare system with limited capacity to prevent, detect and respond to a pandemic like COVID-19. Less than 20 per cent of the health facilities have the required equipment and supplies to manage an outbreak. There are also significant lacks in surveillance, laboratory testing and personal protective equipment. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to compound an already fragile humanitarian situation in Somalia.

The country hosts large numbers of vulnerable people, including over 2.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in 2,000 overcrowded sites, with poor access to safe drinking water, clean latrines and hygiene kits including soap. More than 1.2 million people are severely food insecure. The Government announced on 17 March a series of measures to contain the virus, including the closure of schools and a ban on large gatherings. All international and domestic flights are suspended and borders closed since 18 March. The travel ban has limited movement of humanitarian staff and contractors to and within the country, disrupting humanitarian operations. The closures of borders affected the usual movements of people between Doolow in Gedo Region in Somalia, Dollo Ado in Ethiopia and Mandera in Kenya, including people who were recently displaced by violence in Gedo.

Response:

  • The Government launched on 26 March a national preparedness and response plan, which seeks US$57.8 million to scale up operations over the next nine months. 

Visit the COVID-19 Response in Somalia page to learn more about the pandemic and the humanitarian situation in the country.  

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Ministry of Health webpage

COVID-19 Response in Somalia, by Ministry of Health and OCHA

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
South Africa — Trends

Government reisntates measures to curb rapid spread of COVID-19

  • First case: 5 March 2020

  • Total cases: 276,242 (as of 12 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 4,079

  • Schools: Partially reopened from 1 June (14.6 million learners affected).

  • Borders/fligths: International passenger flights prohibited, except for repatriation flights of South African citizens and medical evacuations. Local flights resumed on 1 July.

  • Containment measures: In the current level three, economic activities are allowed, except for consuming food and alcohol in restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, hotel accommodation for leisure, gyms and personal care businesses.

Situation:

As of 12 June, South Africa has confirmed that over 276,000 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 including over 4,000 people who died from the disease. Gauteng is surpassing Western Cape as the new epicentre of the virus, with nearly 100,000 COVID-19 patients. Although the rate of transmission has slowed in the Western Cape, according to media reports, the Eastern Cape is expecting a surge in COVID-19 patients currently at 50,300.

On 12 July, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the alcohol ban would be reinstated with immediate effect as well as a night-time curfew confining people to be indoors between 9:00pm and 4:00am. The Government has also made it compulsory to wear face masks in public areas. This decision tightens regulations under alert level three. The level three of the restrictions permited places of worship to reopen, subject to sanitary restrictions to prevent infections from rising. All economic activities are allowed, except for consuming food and alcohol in restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, hotel accommodation for leisure, gyms and personal care businesses, where social distancing is not possible. Public gatherings and other high-risk activities, especially those that involve close contact between large numbers of people, remain prohibited.

According to the Ministry of Basic Education, 1,718 schools have been vandalized during the national lockdown causing serious setbacks for the communities affected, according to media reports. All provinces are currently in the process of repairing schools, with nearly 2.5 million students expected to gradually return to school after four months of closure due the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously on 21 April, President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged that "the nationwide lockdown is having a devastating effect on the economy" and added that "the pandemic has resulted in the sudden loss of income for businesses and individuals alike, deepening poverty and increasing hunger." The statement followed a series of protests and disturbs across the country over access to food parcels handed out by the authorities. Several food stores have reportedly been looted in different localities. There have also been reports of violence by police, including alleged killings, since the lockdown began. Response:

  • The Government announced on 21 April a R500 billion Rand (approximately $26.4 billion) social relief and economic support package, involving, accordint to the authorities, a health budget to respond to coronavirus, the relief of hunger and social distress, the support for companies and workers, and the phased re-opening of the economy.

Official sources:

Government COVID-19 Official website

Presidential Statement on Lockdown - 24 March 2020

Presidential Statement on increased violence against women and girls during the lockdown - 13 April 2020

Other links:

South African police officer arrested for allegedly killing man who violated lockdown, by Democracy Now

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
South Sudan — Trends

COVID-19 will likely exacerbate an already fragile humanitarian situation

  • First case: 5 April 2020

  • Total cases: 1,966 (as of 28 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 36

  • Schools: Closed (3.5 million learners affected).

  • Flights/Borders: Airspace opened in May for commercial flights. Since the beginning of June, Ethiopian Airlines had resumed its passenger flights to South Sudan.

  • Containment measures: Nationwide curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. imposed from 29 April. 14-day quarantine mandatory for those arriving from abroad. Self-quarantine, with daily phone calls from public health officers, required for those who are suspected of having been in contact with people who contracted COVID-19.

Situation

South Sudan recorded its first COVID-19 case on 5 April 2020. Since then, nearly 2,000 people with COVID-19 have been identified by the WHO on 28 June. Humanitarian partners are scaling up the humanitarian assistance to nearly 30,000 internally displaced people hosted in the PoC in Juba, increasing the number of hand-washing facilities and distributing three months’ worth of food in advance to encourage them to observe the lockdown and reduce movements. Across the country, containment measures have been imposed since 13 March, including the temporary closure of schools and universities, religious activities, ban on gatherings, sports events, and norms for physical distancing. All international passenger flights and land crossing borders have been suspended since 24 March by the Government-led High-Level Task Force, allowing only humanitarian cargo, food and fuel trucks to enter the country. On 13 April, the Government also suspended all internal passenger flights from Juba along with all passenger transport, both private and public.

Humanitarian partners are working to make sure the pandemic does not disrupt aid operations in South Sudan. The United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) cargo flights continue operate and the World Food Programme (WFP), on behalf of the humanitarian system, is engaged with national authorities to enable critical programme personnel movement within the country. COVID-19 testing previously required for all humanitarian staff travelling in Juba on official missions have been removed effective 1 May. However, all travelers must observe a 14-day quarantine prior to travel and authorized health workers from the Ministry of Health must be allowed free regular access to the quarantine facility.

COVID-19 will likely exacerbate an already fragile humanitarian situation in South Sudan. The cumulative effects of years of prolonged conflict, chronic vulnerabilities and weak essential services have left 7.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 1.6 million people are internally displaced, nearly 6 million people are severely food insecure and most of the population lack access to health services.

Response

  • The country’s High-Level Task Force on COVID-19, chaired by the first Vice President, is leading the response, with technical support from WHO, US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Technical Working Groups (TWGs) and humanitarian partners. Training of health workers, surveillance, contact tracing, risk communication, case management and expanding the John Garang Infectious Disease Unit from 24 to 80 beds are among the main activities.

  • WHO, in support of the Ministry of Health, pre-positioned COVID-19 supplies as part of the national COVID-19 preparedness and response plan to 20 locations across the country.

  • Humanitarians are targeting more than 5 million vulnerable people with assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Up to 12 months of nutritional supplies are being prepositioned for vulnerable families, focusing on tackling acute malnutrition, pregnant and breast-feeding women and the chronically ill. 

  • Communal hand-washing sites are being set up in high-density areas like Juba, Wau, Malakal and Bentiu.

  • Tens of thousands of educational flashcards, pamphlets, banners and posters in multiple languages are being distributed.

  • Radio Miraya, a radio station owned and operated by the UN Mission in South Sudan, is broadcasting health information to people across the country.

  • A media desk is set up at the Ministry of Health to improve the flow of information to the public and journalists are being trained in how to curb misinformation and rumours.

To learn more about the COVID-19 and its humanitarian impact in South Sudan, visit this page.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Government Official Twitter

WHO South Sudan Twitter

Other sources:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Sudan — Trends

Federal Ministry of Health confirms over 10,500 COVID-19 cases

  • First case: 13 March 2020

  • Total cases:  10,527 (as of 11 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 668

  • States affected:  All 18 states

  • Schools: Closed (8,375,193 learners affected).

  • Borders/flights: All land borders closed. UNHAS received, on 8 July, approval from the Sudan Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) to resume in-country flights as of 12 July, which will facilitate humanitarian operations across the country. At the same time, the SCAA reportedly announced that Khartoum airport will be partially opened within a week, and gradually resume international and international flights, according to media reports. The partial opening could facilitate the arrival of thousands of Sudanese stranded abroad since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Containment measures: On 7 July the High Committee for Health Emergencies announced the ease of lockdown restrictions in Khartoum State. The curfew has been changed from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm, bridges have been opened and transportation is allowed during this period. Movement to and from Khartoum and other states is not allowed. Some states in Darfur Region have closed borders and have imposed curfews to limit the movement of people. Schools and universities will remain closed. Government institutions will resume work on 12 July. The Council of Ministers has set the working hours in Federal Ministries and the Ministries in Khartoum, from 8.00 a.m. until 3.00 p.m. Ministers and department heads are to ensure that the work can be done by 30 to 50 per cent of the employees, to reduce congestion in the workplace. All staff must wear face masks and workplaces are to be sanitized regularly .

Situation

Sudan recorded its first COVID-19 case on 13 March 2020. Since then, WHO has confirmed that 10,527 people contracted the virus, including 668 who died from the disease, as of 10 July.

All 18 states have reported cases, with Khartoum, El Gezira, and Gedaref states amongst the hardest-hit. The increasing number of transmissions continues to pose pressure on the country’s fragile health system, according to humanitarian partners. Sudan has only 184 beds in intensive care units (ICU) and approximately 160 of them have ventilators, according to WHO. Only four ICU doctors—three in Khartoum and one and Gezira State—, and 78 COVID-19 dedicated health workers, less than half of them trained to deal with patients infected with the virus, according to WHO. WHO and partners are importing nearly 8,000 new testing kits over the coming weeks, to support the Government-led response.

To mitigate the adverse socio-economic impacts of COVID-19—with the lockdown and closure of non-essential businesses in many states—coupled with the economic crisis and rapidly rising food prices, the Government of Sudan will implement a Family Support Programme, which will provide support vulnerable families. The Government estimates that 65 per cent of the population live below the poverty line and the Family Support Programme will provide direct cash transfers each month to around 80 per cent of Sudanese families to support them through the challenging economic circumstances currently facing the country, safeguarding people at risk of slipping into extreme poverty. The multi-ministerial programme, led by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), is expected to start in the second half of the year with financing from the Government of Sudan and partners.

Before COVID-19, about 9.3 million people were already in need of humanitarian support across Sudan. Years of conflict, recurrent climatic shocks and disease outbreaks continue to affect the lives and livelihoods of many Sudanese. Hundreds of thousands are food insecure and the country has high malnutrition rates. Because of the fragile economy, more and more people are unable to meet their basic needs, as high inflation continues to erode families’ purchasing power. An average local food basket takes up at least 75 per cent of household income.

Response

The Federal Government, the United Nations (UN) and humanitarian partners have joint their efforts to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sudan. A COVID-19 Country Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP), organized around eight pillars, is currently being implemented by UN agencies, NGOs and other partners in support to the Sudanese Government-led response.

Immediate priorities include:

  • Strengthening the state coordination mechanisms.

  • Improvement and scale up of isolation centres at the state level.

  • Scaling up the risk communications and infection, prevention and control activities.

  • Scaling up testing capacity and prevent delays.

  • Strengthening of screening and quarantine facilities at points of entry.

  • Improvement in contact tracing.

Official sources:

Sudan Federal Ministry of Health

WHO Sudan Twitter

Other sources:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Tanzania — Trends

President declares the country COVID-19 free amidst increasing criticism over the lack of information on numbers

  • First case: 16 March

  • Total cases: 509 (as of 8 May 2020)

  • Total deaths: 21

  • Schools: Reopened on 1 June.

  • Borders/flights: Open, no quarantine requested for travellers.

  • Containment measures: no restrictions currently in place.

President John Magufuli announced on 8 June that Tanzania is now COVID-19 free, after all patientes reportedly recovered the disease. The President attributed the alleged success over the pandemic to prayers and fasting that the people of Tanzania have offered to God. The confirmed number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 remained at 509, including 21 who died from the disease. The total, however, is likely to be higher, as the Government has not made public any official update since 8 May. The lack of information on numbers led opposition parties in the country to demand the Government, on repeated occasions, the truth about the COVID-19 outbreak, according to media reports. In a health alert released by the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania on 13 May, the United States warned its citizens that "despite limited official reports, all evidence points to exponential growth of the epidemic in Dar es Sallam and other locations in Tanzania," adding that "many hospitals in Dar have been overwhelmed in recent weeks".

The President of Tanzania announced on 18 May that the country reopened its borders to international passenger flights and there is no mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers as previously required. Authorities will, instead, enhance COVID-19 screening at the borders. Schools and universities also reopened from 1 June, and all economic activities are allowed to operate.

The Government suspended on 4 May the head of its National Health Laboratory in charge of COVID-19 testing, a day after the President questioned the accuracy of the tests, stating the material sent by the African Union were faulty. Following the incident, the Head of the African Union’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), on 7 May, rejected the allegations of problems on the materials and informed during a press conference that the tests used by Tanzania are working correctly. Since the start of the pandemic, political parties and civil society organizations have been repeatedly accused the Government of downplaying the effect of the virus and criticized President Magufuli for allegedly hiding information and misleading the population. The leader has been encouraging people to pray and attend church, as religious gatherings are allowed in the country.

Response:

  • President John Magufuli has banned the 56 Union Celebrations, normally held on 26 April, and ordered that the Sh500 million that was budgeted for the event be spent on boosting the COVID-19 Special Fund for the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar.

  • The Ministry of Education has announced arrangements to ensure that student learning programs are aired through radio and television, following the indefinite extension of closure of schools announced on 14 April.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health updates on COVID-19 and Government of Tanzania Spokesperson Official Twitter Other links:

BBC Tanzania COVID-19 coverage

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Uganda — Trends

Government starts to ease containment measures

  • First case: 21 March 2020

  • Total cases: 870 (as of 28 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 0

  • Schools: Closed countrywide (9.6 million learners affected).

  • Borders/Flights: All borders closed; International flights suspended until 24 April, except for aircraft in a state of emergency, humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights and technical landings.

  • Containment measures: National curfew from 7 pm to 6:30 am from 31 March. Shops, hotels and restaurants allowed to resume operations since 26 May; private transports are also allowed, while public transports will resume on 4 June.

Situation:

Uganda has reported 870 people with COVID-19 as of 27 June. The number of people who contracted the virus was revised on 21 May, after the country deducted 120 foreign truck drivers who tested positive in Uganda from the total. The decision was directed by President Musevini, according to the Ministry of Health twitter account. The Ministry informed that, on 20 May, Uganda “handed over” 21 foreign truck drivers who tested positive for coronavirus to their country of origin. In total, at least 145 drivers have been sent back to their countries, according to the Ministry of Health. The Government had tried to change the official numbers when the first drivers tested positive in the country in Mid-April but had gone back on the decision following WHO guidance that any person with COVID-19 should be counted and treated in the country where their tested positive. On 28 April, the Ministry of Health denied allegations that Uganda was repatriating truck drivers.

Uganda reportedly started on 26 May a phased easing of restrictions imposed in March to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, according to media reports. Shops, hotels and restaurants are now allowed to resume operations as long as some measures, including social distancing guidelines and the mandatory use of face masks on public spaces, according to the media. Private transports are also allowed, while public transports will resume on 4 June. Private transport, however, is still banned in the country's border districts to limit cross-border transmissions. Schools are expected to restart on 4 June. All the other restrictions like closure of the country's borders except for cargo transport will remain in place, according to the Government, quoted by the media.

Uganda had previously instituted 54 measures to contain the virus, including closing all educational institutions, suspending communal prayers in mosques, churches and other venues, stopping all public political rallies, cultural gatherings or conferences, and banning the movement of all privately owned passenger vehicles. When the President announced on 14 April the estension of the measures he highlighted that, even during the lockdown, certain activities should continue, including work on farms to produce crops for food and cash, work in the factories, provided the companies camp their workers nearby, cargo transport, provision of utilities, medical services and others. UNHCR has urged all countries in the region, including Uganda, to continue to provide protection and access to asylum to people fleeing war and persecution during this challenging time.

Response:

The Government has implemented a house-to-house food distribution during the lockdown. President Museveni has stated that the food support is targeted in urban areas towards people who relied on daily earnings that have been impacted by the anti-COVID-19 measures–including working in hair salons; bars; night clubs; garages; selling non-food items in markets; etc–and who do not grow their own food.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Ministry of Health COVID-19 webpage

WHO Uganda

President Museveni’s fourth address

Other links:

UNHCR stepping up coronavirus prevention measures for refugees across East, Horn and Great Lakes region of Africa

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Potential Socioeconomic Impact of COVID-19 in Angola: A Brief Analysis, by NHABITAT/UNDP

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Zambia — Trends

Spike in number of infections causes concern in Zambia

  • First case: 19 March

  • Total cases: 1,531 (as of 2 7June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 21

  • Schools: Closed country-wide from 20 March (4 million learners affected).

  • Borders/Flights: Borders are still open, but international flights are only allowed in and out of Kenneth Kaunda International Lusaka Airport.

  • Containment measures: Travellers required to self-quarantine for 14 days; public gatherings, including conferences, weddings, funerals and festivals restricted to not more than 50 people.

Situation:

The number of people who contracted COVID-19 in Zambia has dramatically increased during May, jumping from around 100 at the beginning of the month to over 1,000 on 31 May. Now, over 1,400 cases have been confirmed, as of 27 June, in at least 27 out of the 119 districts.

Nakonde District, one of the epicentres of the outbreak, was on lockdown from 10 to 20 May and borders closed to prevent transmission. Security forces were deployed to enforce the restrictions, with media reporting some incidents, including the arrest of nine motortaxi drivers on 21 May for allegedly protest the restrictions.

For the rest of the country, the Government has not ordered any closure of borders at any point of the outbreak to avoid the negative impact on trade and economy. Some other limitations and closure of some businesses have, however, been imposed. The Government has banned public gatherings and, effective 26 March, gyms, bars, casinos and night clubs were closed, and restaurants allowed to only serve takeaway. Essential services, including pharmacies and food stores, remain open, with orders to adhere to strict hygiene standards. Schools, colleges and universities were closed from 20 March, but markets and churches continue to operate. On 8 May, the Government lifted some of the initial measures and recommended the opening of schools for student examination years and opening of restaurants and gyms subject to adhere to public health measures and to social distancing. The wearing of masks in public places became mandatory and all retail business are required to have handwashing facilities at the entrances of their businesses.

Nearly 1.2 million children are missing out on school meals in Zambia due to the COVID-19 containment measures, according to WFP. The Zambian economy is expected to be adversely impacted by the decline in copper prices, depreciation of local currency, and economic disruptions due to lockdowns in trading partners, according to the IMF.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Ministry of Health Facebook Page

Ministry of Health Situation Reports

President’s address on COVID-19 impact and response - 25 March 2020

Other links:

Global Monitoring of School Meals During COVID-19 School Closures, by WFP

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Zimbabwe — Trends
Zimbabwe: UNICEF
Twenty-year-old pregnant Zanle Chisa gets a check up at the Tanganda Rural Health Centre near Mutare. Photo: UNICEF

Government declares COVID-19 crisis a national disaster

  • First case: 20 March

  • Total cases: 574 (as of 29 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 7

  • Schools: Closed (4.1 million learners affected)

  • Borders/Flights: No commercial international flights permitted during nationwide lockdown. Borders remain open for cargo.

  • Containment measures: National lockdown in place since 30 March; domestic travels allowed only for seeking/providing essential services; Seven-day mandatory quarantine at Government facilities for travellers or those who had contact with symptomatic people.

Situation:

Zimbabwe confirmed that 574 people had contracted COVID-19, including seven who died from the disease, as of 29 June. The Government declared the COVID-19 crisis a “National Disaster” on 27 March and introduced an initial 21-day national lockdown on 30 March. The measure has later been extended indefinitely with a review every two weeks. Some restrictions were lfited on 1 May to allow formal business to resume operations, following specific prevention measures as the screening of employess. All international passenger flights in and out of Zimbabwe remain suspended and schools are closed. Citizens have been advised to limit their visits to the informal markets, which are still allowed to function. People found guilty of spreading fake news on coronavirus can be charged with 20 years of prison.

Following several reports of police brutality during the State of Emergency, the High Court granted on 14 April, an interim order that any enforcement officers engaged in implementing the country’s lockdown must respect human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. On 20 May, the Heads of Mission of the Delegation of the European Union, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America issued a statement exhorting the Government of Zimbabwe to respect human rights. The letter follows the abduction and torture of two leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and a member of the Parliament, all opponents of the Government. The three women were reportedly sexually assaulted by police officers after being arrested during a protest in Harare on 13 May over the impact of COVID-19-related restrictions on vulnerable families.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) group has raised concerns over the severe water and sanitation crisis, which is likely to undermine the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. According to HRW, thousands of women and school-age children are spending eight to nine hours and all night in lines at crowded boreholes or narrow water wells to get water, increasing risks of violence. The Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe has reported that at least 764 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) occurred during the first 11 days of the COVID-19 national lockdown, above the monthly average of 500 GBV cases.

Nearly 7,000 migrants from Zimbabwe have returned to the country since April from neighbouring nations, the majority of them from South Africa, according to IOM. Nearly 2,500 Zimbabweans returned from South Africa between 7 and 17 May 2020 through the Beitbridge border post alone, a significant increase compared to thd 102 returnees registerd in April. Higher numbers of repatriations are espected in the coming months due to the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Zimbabwe was already facing increased humanitarian needs due to multiple climate shocks and a harsh economic crisis. The health system was nearly collapsing and at least 7 million people in urban and rural areas across Zimbabwe were facing increasing hunger and in need of assistance.

Response:

  • The Government launched its COVID-19 National Preparedness and Response Plan on 19 March and has said it will increase cash transfers for 1 million vulnerable households.

  • In May, Zimbabwe was added to the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19, with $84.9 million required to reach 5.9 million people with urgent COVID-19-related assistance. This comes on top of the pre-existing requirement of $715 million to reach 5.6 million people in Zimbabwe with life-saving assistance and protection, which was called for under the Zimbabwe Humanitarian Response Plan.

Official sources:

Ministry of Information Official Twitter and Ministry of Health Official Twitter

Zimbabwe COVID-19 Dashboard and Ministry of Health Daily Updates

Other links:

Unsafe Water Raises COVID-19 Risks, by Human Rights Watch

20 years in jail for spreading fake coronavirus news, by The Standard

High Court granted an interim order that police must respect human rights, by ZLHR Lawyers

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Response to COVID-19, by IMF

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Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Interactive

Interactive map - COVID-19 in Southern and Eastern Africa

Click to see the number of people who contracted the virus, deaths and the trends of the pandemic across the region and by country. Updated daily.

Interactive map

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