• The situation remained relatively stable in the months of January and February 2021. However, over the past months, South Asia has experienced an unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19. As of April 30, there have been reported 21,271,547 confirmed cases, 247,916 deaths and 17,538,774 recovered, marking increases of over 8.6 million confirmed cases and over 64.000 deaths in two months in South Asia.
• While the peak of the outbreak seems to have passed, there are still nearly two million new cases and 32,000 new deaths registered over the week ending 28 May 2021. The healthcare system of several countries (including India and Nepal) is under extreme pressure, with many hospitals in capitals at full capacity and daily reports of oxygen shortages. The situations in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are being closely monitored following religious festivities and as infections are on the rise.
• From mid-January to late-May, 211 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the region, only amounting to 2.6 per cent of the total population fully vaccinated.
• UNICEF continues to deliver life-saving and essential services to women, children and most vulnerable populations in South Asia, in parallel with its commitment to the COVAX. This includes over 200,000 6-59-months-old children admitted for SAM treatment, over 926,000 frontline health workers trained on IPC and over 486,000 children and caregivers provided with mental health and psychosocial support in the region.
• South Asia region is entering into its yearly monsoon season, where premonsoon cyclones and heavy rain has previously caused additional humanitarian impacts on the lives of women and children.
• Substantial additional funding is required to deliver lifesaving support.
Despite generous donor contributions, a funding gap of US$ 425 million (75 per cent) hampers UNICEF’s ability to respond.