West and Central Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report


Total COVID-19 confirmed cases nears 39,000; Partners intensify emergency response across camps

  • First case: 27 February 2020

  • Total cases: 38,948 (as of 23 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 833

  • Schools: from 1 July, universities, high schools and secondary schools reopened so final-year students can prepare for exams. Primary schools and nurseries will remain closed.

  • Borders/flights: Domestic flights resumed from 21 June

  • Containment measures: an interstate travel ban has been lifted on 29 June. On 1 June, the federal government relaxed the lockdown imposed on Kano State and the ban placed on religious gatherings and banking operations for a period of four weeks, while shortening the curfew from 10 pm to 4 am. The Presidential Task Force called on 15 June for strict enforcement of safety measures including the use of face masks in public and minimal gathering.


On 23 July, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed some 604 new cases of COVID-19 across 21 states, including two in Borno, bringing the total confirmed cases to 38,948 cases since the country’s index case on 27 February. Some 20 new deaths on 23 July, the highest daily count in recent weeks, took the total fatalities to 833, while some 16,061 cases have been discharged after recovery. With a population of over 200 million people, and despite confirmation of massive community spread and transmission of the virus, Nigeria has conducted only about 251,000 tests, falling short of the target to reach two million tests by end of July. All 37 states have reported positive cases, with authorities confirming massive community spread and transmission of the virus.  Citing growing spread and the need to ramp up emergency measures, President Muhammadu Buhari on 29 June extended the second phase of the “gradual easing of lockdown” by another four weeks. On the same day, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said some 20 LGAs across the country still account for over 60 per cent of cases. Warning the peak of the pandemic is still to come, the PTF is considering “precision lockdown” of 18 of the worst affected LGAs in Lagos, Abuja FCT and Kano states. Implementation of the lockdown is still unclear considering the ban on inter-state personal movements was lifted on 1 July. The PTF repeatedly lamented disregard and poor compliance with prevention guidelines. More than 73 per cent of the confirmed cases have no traceable sources of infection, indicating community transmission, which could get worse with increased inter-state movements.

Amid reports of isolation and treatment facilities - which have less than 6,000 bed spaces – being overwhelmed by the spike in new infections, authorities have reviewed protocols and guidelines at least twice in recent weeks to enable early discharge of cases and remote monitoring of asymptomatic cases to free up bed spaces. Nigeria currently has a total of 15,358 active cases while 9,746 people have been discharged after recovery. More than 138,000 tests have been conducted and Cross River remains the only state (of 37) yet to confirm any positive case.


Humanitarian Coordinator stresses decongestion, protection of civilians and COVID-19 prevention during advocacy mission to Borno: Between 15-17 July, the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC), Mr. Edward Kallon led an advocacy mission to Borno State, the epicenter an 11-year conflict and the north-eastern state worth-affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Joined by the Head of OCHA, the HC met with Governor Babagana Zulum to advocate accelerated action to decongest IDP camps - nearly half of which are overpopulated, increasing the risks of fire outbreaks and diseases including cholera and COVID-19. Reiterating the unwavering support of the humanitarian community, Mr. Kallon emphasized specific measures taken to curtail the spread of COVID-19, including risk communication, community mobilization and active case search, construction of isolation centers in IDP camps and of quarantine shelters across the state, technical support to isolation and treatment facilities, and support to the High-Level Committee on COVID-19. The HC also met with the military Theatre Commander to advocate on the protection of civilians, aid workers and humanitarian assets amid escalating clashes and attacks. More than 40,000 people were displaced by upsurge of clashes in different parts of the state between February and May alone, according to the latest IOM DTM report.

Amid escalating spread of COVID-19 throughout the country, humanitarian partners are intensifying emergency response and mitigation measures in Monguno LGA, the largest operation outside the capital. Partners are implementing a risk mitigation and hygiene promotion campaign which has already reached over 850 IDPs as of 15 July, emphasizing regular hand-washing, sanitation, social distancing, and protocols for reporting suspected cases to curb the spread of the virus. Over 500 households also received hygiene kits, including soap, as part of the ongoing campaign that also includes training for community mobilizer on monitoring and tracing of suspected cases. Over 100 transitional shelters, latrines and hand-washing points were also completed across Monguno camps.

On 15 June, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) announced a US $22.4 million allocation to fund life-saving actions and COVID-19 response across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states. This is the fund’s largest allocation since its creation in 2017. In a press release on 15 June, Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon, noted that the funding will “support urgent efforts” including the rapid scale up critical supplies such as food, water, shelters, and health services addressing pre-existing needs and new vulnerabilities triggered by COVID-19.  The BAY states currently have a caseload of 636 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 1 July. Emergency measures including restriction on movements and gatherings have impacted livelihood activities such as trading and communal farming. “The impact of COVID-19 has made it even more essential for donors to contribute to the NHF and support aid organisations in adapting their response,” highlighted Mr. Kallon.  In 2020, a total of US $246 million is needed for COVID-19 specific humanitarian actions in north-east Nigeria, in addition to US $834 million to respond to underlying humanitarian needs of 10.6 million people. The NHF has received contributions from 10 donor countries for urgent actions in 2020. On 28 February 2020, a multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated at Level 3 – the highest emergency level in Nigeria –led by NCDC in close coordination with the State Public Health EOCs (PHEOC).

On 28 April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved $3.4 billion in emergency assistance.

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