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UNICEF West and Central Africa Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Report No. 2

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Situation in Numbers

5,025 confirmed cases in West and Central Africa

137 deaths (CFR: 2.7%) (WHO and MoH, 15 April 2020)

128 million Children and youth affected by COVID-19 school closures

US$ 172.6 M funding required

Highlights

• As of 15 April 2020, a total of 5,025 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 137 deaths, were reported in West and Central Africa Region (WCAR).
During the reporting, the situation has quickly evolved from 18 countries affected to all the 24 countries of the region reporting confirmed cases.

• The classification of transmission has also switched from imported and local transmission to clusters of cases, sporadic and community transmissions. On March 22, five countries reported local transmissions and 13 countries reported imported cases. As of 15 April, all the 24 countries reported local transmissions, including 10 countries with clusters of cases and 13 countries with sporadic cases.

• All countries in the region have postponed planned immunization campaigns, with the exception of the Central African Republic where reactive campaign against a persistent epidemic of measles continued while there are still low reported numbers of COVID-19 cases.

• More than 11 million children under 5 years old will be acutely malnourished in 2020 in WCAR while 21.2 million people will face a critical lack of food in West Africa and Sahel countries (Jun-Aug 2020 projection, Cadre Harmonisé - March 2020).

Situation Overview and Needs

All 24 countries in the region are now reporting confirmed COVID19 cases, with the 10 most affected countries accounting for 89% of all of the confirmed cases. As of 15 April 2020, a cumulative total of 5,025 confirmed cases and 137 associated deaths (case fatality ratio: 2.7%) have been reported.

It is worth noting that despite the relatively low case fatality ratio of 2.7% across the region, three of the most strongly affected countries are showing relatively high case-fatality ratios (DRC 8.24 %, Mali 8.13% and Burkina Faso 5.7%). In WCAR, it is estimated that more than 11 million children under 5 years old will be acutely malnourished in 2020, while according to the latest Cadre Harmonise exercise, the number of people expected to be food insecure during the coming lean season in the West African and Sahel countries is 21.2 million. The expected strain on already weak health systems, within a context of deteriorating household food insecurity will further exacerbate the nutrition situation of young children and mothers if swift actions are not taken.

With regard to the public health situation, there is an urgent need to rapidly test and isolate confirmed cases, identify and trace contacts both at national and decentralized levels. In addition, there are urgent requirements to equip health workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including medical masks, and rapidly upgrade facilities, especially Intensive Care Units with additional beds and equipment including oxygen. Appropriate measure should also be taken to mitigate collateral impacts of the epidemic and measures put in place that create pressure on already weak social service delivery systems, and particularly affect children, women and vulnerable people.