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East & Horn of Africa COVID-19 Situation Report - #7, 28 May 2020 Update

Situation Report
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The impact of COVID-19 on East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) continues to play out with severe negative consequences for migrants, including IDPs and other vulnerable groups. The number of positive cases continues to rise, with over 8,800 people now infected with the disease in the region. Air, land, sea, other border closures, and movement restrictions remain in place throughout the region, to try and reduce the spread of the disease. Governments are focused on ramping up testing capacity, voluntary testing, contact tracing, acquiring Personal Protective Equipment, and ensuring social distancing measures, as part of COVID-19 response and mitigation strategies.

As of May 28, the number of positive COVID-19 case in EHoA stands at 8,841. In the last day 618 new cases have been confirmed, most emanating from Djibouti, with 229 positive tests, an increase of 9.3% in a 24 hour period. Followed by South Sudan with 188 new cases, an increase of 23.3%. There are 123 new cases in Kenya, an increase of 9.1%, followed by Ethiopia, where there are 30 new cases, an increase of 4.3%. Followed by Uganda, with 28 new cases, an increase of 11.1%. Djibouti, Kenya and South Sudan have reported the highest number of COVID-19 confirmed cases since the pandemic emerged. Djibouti remains the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with 2,697 (30.5% of total cases in the region), followed by Somalia with 1,731 cases (19.6%), and lastly, Kenya, 1,471 cases, (16.6%). The number of deaths in the region stands at 178. Somalia has the highest reported number of deaths with 67 deaths (3.9% of the total), Kenya with 55 deaths (3.7%), followed by Tanzania with 21 deaths (4.1% of cases). Over 2,600 case victims (29.4% of cases in the region) have recovered from COVID-19. Uganda reports 21 truck drivers arriving from South Sudan having tested positive for the disease. A joint WHO, IOM, East African Community strategy for COVID-19 management along transport corridors will be published soon.

IOM is supporting governments throughout the region respond to COVID-19 with disease surveillance, infection prevention and control, case management, and at ‘Points of Entry (PoEs)’. This includes immediate assistance in health clinic and quarantine centres. Providing hygiene and sanitation facilities, monitoring and mapping of people’s movements in displacement sites and at borders, among other activities.

Migrants and similar vulnerable groups are disproportionately negatively impacted by COVID-19, compared to ordinary citizens. Displacement settings by nature are more exposed to the spread of the disease due to overcrowding, over-representation of preexisting health conditions and poor WASH facilities. Migrants are typically not captured by national response plans and often lack access to national public health systems. The economic impact of restrictions on movement is particularly catastrophic for these groups, many of whom need to cross borders in search of jobs and opportunities, or to trade. Thousands of migrants in the region are stranded in places like Somalia and Djibouti. Thousands have been involuntarily returned to their countries of origin. Migrants are also disproportionately at risk of experiencing stigma, xenophobia, and being scapegoated for spreading the infection.