West and Central Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report


COVID-19 has hit at a time when Mali is facing a challenging security situation in the northern and central regions.

  • First case: 25 March 2020

  • Total cases: 2,477 (as of 23 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 122

  • Schools: Reopened on 2 June

  • Borders/flights: Air borders reopen on 25 July; land borders reopen on 31 July.

  • Containment measures: Curfew has been lifted on 8 May but masks must be worn in public spaces.


As of 23 July, the state health structures recorded 2,477 cases of COVID-19 and 122 deaths. More than 80 per cent of confirmed cases are recorded in the district of Bamako and the conflict-affected regions of Timbuktu and Mopti. The weakened health system will not be able to cope with an increase of cases. In conflict-affected areas, 23 per cent of facilities are not functioning, the remaining lack required equipment and treatment capacity. 

As COVID-19 spreads, resources are being diverted from basic healthcare and other health emergencies. Vaccinations and primary healthcare, including related to malnutrition, are likely to be severely impacted. Risk of widespread contamination is high in crowded places where vulnerable people gather, such as IDP sites. The situation may increase inter-community tensions over access to services, food or medical supplies.


UN agencies support students to access to education within the COVID-19 context: On 21 July, WFP started the distribution of food to children in schools with canteens within the framework of the response to COVID-19. This assistance will reach a total of 98,000 children in the regions of Gao, Menaka, Timbuktu and Kidal. Furthermore, with the support of Education Cannot Wait, UNHCR has distributed 5,500 radios and school kits to 11,000 children. In line with the Ministry of Education’s distance learning programme, UNHCR makes sure that children continue learning via broadcast by radio.

The Malian government has set up a crisis response unit, a hotline for signalling any suspicious case, stepping up sensitization campaigns, strengthening testing capacities, expanding quarantine and hospitalization facilities, and improving medical care capacities.

Education Cannot Wait announced the availability of additional funds for Mali totaling US$5 million. The funds will be used to address emergency needs and potential activities related to the COVID-19 response or to address indirect consequences of the pandemic.

The World Bank has approved on 10 April a $25.8 million International Development Association (IDA) 50% grant and 50% credit to support Mali’s response to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Emergency Response project will help improve access to health care services and promote an integrated response through greater screening, detection and treatment of patients, as well as improved laboratory capacity and surveillance.

The United States is already helping Mali meet its immediate needs in the face of COVID-19. They provided test kits early in the crisis and supplied material and technical support to the Ministry of Territorial Administration to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 during the legislative elections.

The United Arab Emirates sent on 10 May an aid plane containing six metric tons of medical supplies and testing kits to Mali to bolster the country’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.


Mali: Plan humanitaire COVID-19

Plan d’Actions pour la Prévention et la Réponse à la Maladie à COVID-19 COVID-19 au Mali: Communiqués du Gouvernement