Pandemic likely to compound fragile humanitarian situation
First case: 16 March
Total cases: 3,212 (as of 2 August 2020)
Total deaths: 93
Schools: Closed (544,000 learners affected)
Borders/Flights: International passenger flights, suspended since 18 March, to resume on 3 August. 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. Health screening and self-quarantine required for travellers or those who had contact with symptomatic people.
Somalia had recorded 3,212 COVID-19 cases, with 93 deaths, as of 2 August. Most of the cases have no travel history, signifying community transmission. The country has a weak health-care 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 gaps 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 were suspended and borders closed since 18 March. Local flights resumed at the beginning of July and international flights are expected to restart on 3 August. Incoming travellers will require a coronavirus negative certificate. The travel ban limited movement of humanitarian staff and contractors to and within the country, disrupting humanitarian operations. Somalia continued to have an influx of migrants from neighbouring countries through irregular migration routes, especially from Ethiopia. The closures of borders has 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. According to IOM, hundreds of migrants were stranded in Bossaso as a result of border and sea-crossing closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 400 migrants had to be hosted by members of the Ethiopian community living in informal settlements around the city.
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.
The African Development Bank said on 24 July it had approved grants worth about $25.1 million to Somalia to bolster the national budget for government efforts to mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Somali Government will use the financing to carry out three interlinked responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that will enhance the health system; safeguard livelihoods and social protection; and support labour force productivity and economic activity. The Bank’s grant funding aligns with Somalia’s development objectives and COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.
The Somalia 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan was revised in July to incorporate the new challenges and constraints related to the triple threat of COVID-19, locusts and flooding.
IOM continues raise awareness on COVID-19, particularly targeting migrants and internally displaced people. At least, 43,230 people were screened for COVID-19 symptoms at PoEs in Dhobley, Doolow, Baidoa, Kismayo and Hudur in June, by Ministry of Health staff trained by IOM. Activities are closely coordinated with the Ministries of Health at Federal and Member State level and with local authorities.
Visit the COVID-19 Response in Somalia page to learn more about the pandemic and the humanitarian situation in the country.
COVID-19 Response in Somalia, by Ministry of Health and OCHA