- As of 9 April 2020, 121,079 cases were confirmed positive of COVID-19 in the East Asia and Pacific with 4,214 deaths. This entails 83,249 confirmed cases in China and an additional 37,830 confirmed cases in other East Asia and Pacific countries. Of these the Republic of Korea (10,423 cases), Malaysia (4,119 cases), Japan (4,768 cases), Indonesia (2,956 cases) and Thailand (2,423 cases) are among the most heavily affected.
- Most countries in the East Asia and Pacific region have been taking measures to prepare for or mitigate community transmission of COVID-19. While the outbreak’s burden on health systems is increasing rapidly, necessary mitigation measures are affecting livelihoods and access to public services. Urgent efforts are needed to contain the outbreak and to support health systems and communities to mitigate the impacts.
- So far, UNICEF has reached over 86 million people with its COVID-19 related messages and plans to reach 152 million people in total. UNICEF also provided critical personal protective equipment for 93,000 health workers across the region.
- UNICEF’s Country Offices in the region are also supporting Governments with mitigating adverse impacts on education, child protection and other public services. UNICEF supports governments in the region, among others, with continuity of learning for the 325 million children affected by school closures, preparedness of schools and institutional care facilities as well as trainings of social workers to continue child protection services. Additional resources are needed for this response, including for supplies and programmatic support.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the COVID-19 has already resulted in 4,214 deaths in the East Asia and Pacific region. Necessary mitigation measures have interrupted public life and slowed down economic activity, affecting the lives and livelihoods of the 2.2 billion people living in the region. While the response by countries in the region has been unprecedented, medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, are in short supply across the East Asia and Pacific region. Countries with weaker health systems and limited capacity to deal with a major disease outbreak are at particular risk, especially now that community transmission has already occurred in several countries in the region. Moreover, public anxiety about transmission risks in healthcare facilities might severely affect healthcare-seeking behaviour, including by pregnant women and families with young children. School closures implemented by countries in the region to contain the spread of the virus have affected 325 million children and will have adverse child protection consequences , unless alternative care arrangements are put in place. UNICEF’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak therefore focusses on the reduction of human-to-human transmission as well as the mitigation of the direct and indirect socio-economic impacts of the crisis. In East Asia and Pacific, this means a combination of critical upstream interventions such as technical assistance to communication strategies and IPC and prevention trainings to essential health personnel, and downstream activities such as strengthening handwashing installations in schools and direct provision of hygiene kits to vulnerable groups. To mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, UNICEF supports governments in the East Asia and Pacific with facilities for continued learning, provides technical assistance for continued child protection services and assists to leverage social protection systems to meet income needs of affected families. UNICEF harnesses its social and traditional media assets to reach people with accurate information and prevention messaging as well as to engage with children, adolescents and their caregivers. Currently, Tropical cyclone Harold, a category 5 cyclone, is compounding the situation in the Pacific by having caused flooding in Solomon Islands and Fiji and severe destructions to houses and crops in Vanuatu.