West and Central Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Trends

Chad

New cluster of contamination in Chari-Baguirmi province

  • First case: 19 March 2020

  • Total cases: 889 (as of 23 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 75

  • Schools: Closed

  • Borders/flights: All borders closed. Reopening of the airport on 1 August for international flights.

  • Containment measures: On 17 July, the government announced the extension of the curfew by two weeks starting 20 July from 22:00 to 5:00 in many provinces and the city of N'Djamena. On 17 June, they announced the reopening of places of worship, examination classes and universities, which have been closed for three months to counter the Covid-19 pandemic.

Situation:

On 22 July, Chad reported 26 new COVID-19 cases, all from the oil zone of Koudalwa, in the Chari-Baguirmi province bordering N’Djamena. The new cases are all men, aged 26 to 54, and have been placed in isolation to stop the contamination. Additional tests are ongoing on this site to identify other potential cases. This latest cluster contrasts with the relatively stable epidemiological situation of the past few weeks and puts an end to the positive trend from the last five weeks with less than 10 new cases reported weekly. Curfew is still in place in border provinces as a means to limit cross-border movement and potential COVID-19 transmission. On 17 July, the government announced the extension of the curfew by two weeks starting 20 July 2020 from 22:00 to 5:00 in the provinces of Guéra, Kanem, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, Mayo-Kebbi Ouest, Mayo-Kebbi Est, in the city of N'Djamena, in Mandelia, in Logone-Gana and from N'Djamena-Farah to Guitté.

Following the announcement of the reopening of the airport to international passengers starting 1 August, the Government is imposing reciprocity measures: its borders will remain closed to countries banning incoming flight passengers from Chad, except for those on official business (prior to Government’s agreement). The health status of the population is a major concern, particularly among the oldest population, people with underlying conditions and women whose access to health services remains dependent on social and cultural norms. There is widespread malaria and an ongoing measles epidemic. Vaccinations are impacted by restrictions on movement and large gatherings. Major challenges pertain to limited, poorly equipped and under-staffed health facilities, even in the capital.

Chad anticipates significant deterioration in the nutritional situation during the lean season. The closure of schools impacts on both essential education and school meals for 3 million children. Containment measures have significantly restricted the protection space and exacerbated the vulnerabilities of forcibly displaced persons.

Humanitarian partners have worked closely with local authorities on COVID-19 prevention measures. Since the notification of a first confirmed case on 1 May, only five cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Lac province.

Response:

After announcing the reopening of commercial flights starting 1 August, the Health Crisis Management Committee adopted a new health protocol for all passengers coming from abroad: this includes proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test undertaken within 72 hours of departure; a 7-day quarantine period (reduced from 14 days), and respecting barrier measures, following arrival in Chad; and another PCR test to be taken on the seventh day in one of the designated hospital sites. The certification from this test will have to be presented to the authorities to allow travelers to retrieve their passports, which will be held from their first arrival. Travelers staying less than seven days will have to respect barrier measures for the entirety of their stay and declare their contact information (hotel, workplace) to ensure epidemiological surveillance.

Sixteen community teams have been deployed in N'Djamena province to sensitize the population on prevention measures. Radio spots are broadcast in local languages on 17 local radio stations in the 10 major urban centres. In the meantime, UN agencies and international NGOs are working closely with WHO and the Ministry to accelerate and help deliver the response, including the provision of epidemiologic monitoring, health and hygiene promotion, and treatment of COVID-19 cases in public health centres in N’Djamena and other areas.

Chad’s Government is implementing stricter measures to reduce population movement, and thus curtail transmission between N’Djamena and other urban centres. The use of masks is required in all public spaces until further notice.

Official links: https://sante-tchad.org

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