Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest (Discontinued on 31 Aug 2020)

Situation Report
Djibouti — Trends

Government eases some restrictions, reopens the airport

  • First case: 17 March 2020

  • Total cases: 5,374 (as of 19 August 2020)

  • Total deaths: 59

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

  • Borders/Flights:  Passenger flights, stopped on 8 March, and resumed 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 businesses to operate normally.


With 5,374 cases confirmed as of 19 August, 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. On 10 May, the Government announced 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 reopened the airport for commercial flights on 17 July, which had been closed since 8 March. While cargo flights continued to operate normally, UNHAS operations were suspended.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the country’s recent socio-economic progress in jeopardy. The country’s real GDP in 2020 is forecast to contract by 3.8 per cent, threatening as many as 40,000 jobs, according to media reports.


  • 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.

  • On 24 July, the African Development Bank approved grants worth approximately US$41.16 million to Djibouti to bolster the national budget in support of Government’s efforts to mitigate national and regional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will enable the Government to support response programs to enhance health systems, safeguard livelihoods and provide social protection; and defend labour force productivity and economic activity.

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