Angola + 23 more

Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest (13 May 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published



  • With Lesotho confirming on 13 May its first case of COVID-19, all countries in Southern and Eastern Africa have now been affected by the pandemic.
  • South Africa, the first country in the region to report a imported case on 5 March, has confirmed that over 11,000 people contracted COVID-19 so far.
  • The number of people with COVID-19 is rising in Somalia, where the weak health system lacks capacity to respond. Cases in Djibouti and Tanzania are also increasing.
  • Multiple locations have reported a spike in gender-based violence, as communities face rising economic pressure.
  • Resources are urgently needed to scale-up the life-saving response and common services for the outbreak.


20,197 total cases in the region (as of 13 May)

478 total deaths

26 countries affected in the region


With over 40 cases, the country confirms its first local transmissions

  • First case: 19 March 2020

  • Total cases: 43 (as of 12 May 2020)

  • Total deaths: 2

  • Schools: Closed (affecting nearly 8.7 million leaners).

  • Borders/flights: All international flights cancelled effective from 20 March 2020. All land borders closed.

  • Containment measures: National State of Emergency declared on 27 March; domestic travel allowed only for seeking/providing essential services; 14-day self-quarantine for those who had contact with symptomatic people.


Angola recorded its first person with COVID-19 on 19 March 2020. Since then, the country has confirmed 43 people with the infection, including two who died. On 28 April, the country registered the first person who contracted the virus through local transmission, increasing concerns of a faster increase in the number of people affected in the coming weeks. The Government declared a National State of Emergency on 27 March, banning non-essential internal travel, meetings and public activities, and closing all schools. International flights to and from Angola were suspended on 20 March and the country has also prohibited circulation of people at land borders during the same period. Docking and disembarkation of cargo ships and crew members for medical assistance and humanitarian reasons remain operational. The police are enforcing the measures outlined in the State of Emergency. However, the ban on travel, meetings and public activities imposed on 27 March has reportedly only been adhered to by a small part of the population, according to media reports quoting a senior police officer.

COVID-19 has arrived in Angola at a time when much of the population was already struggling to meet their basic needs. In 2018-2019, southern Angola experienced a devastating drought - with temperatures the highest seen in 45 years - driving increasing hunger and malnutrition, especially in Cunene, Huíla, Bié and Namibe provinces. Angola is also facing macro-economic challenges following multiple consecutive years of economic contraction since 2014, when the country was hit by the oil price crisis. At least 40.6 per cent of the population live below the national poverty line, and nearly 1 in 2 people (47.6 per cent) live below the international poverty line of US$1.9 per day. COVID-19 is expected to exacerbate the situation for the most vulnerable, with 72.6 per cent of the population relying on informal employment.


  • The Government has approved a National Contingency Plan to Control the Epidemic.

  • Additional health care spending to mitigate COVID-19, estimated at US$40 million, has been announced and tax exemptions on humanitarian aid and donations have been granted.

  • A contingent of over 250 health professionals sent from Cuba on 10 April is completing quarantine and will be deployed across the country.

  • The Ministry of Social Action, Family and Women Empowerment will disburse AOA 315 million (nearly US$562,500) to support food distribution to vulnerable groups.

  • UN entities in Angola have reallocated $16 million to support the Government-led response to COVID-19, including $12.5 million for the health response and $3.5 million for food security in Namibe, Huila, Cunene and Cuando Cubango provinces.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health

Other links:

Potential Socioeconomic Impact of COVID-19 in Angola: A Brief Analysis, by UNHABITAT/UNDP

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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