Republic of Djibouti: COVID-19 Situation Report #1, 23 March 2020

Originally published



  • On 18 March, the authorities confirmed Djibouti’s first case of COVID-19. The person did not have contact with the local population. On 23 March, two new confirmed cases, with history of travel, were announced. Contact tracing is ongoing for testing.

  • All passenger movement (aircraft/railway/boat), including humanitarian flights are suspended since 18 March. Cargo movements continue. Restrictions nonetheless started hampering commercial traffic that used passenger aircrafts to move commodities.

  • On 19 March, the Government announced closure of schools, and on 21 March of mosques, sport events and bars. On 23 March a general lockdown was announced, except for essential services.

  • Testing capacity are available in the country. A quarantine site has been established and a care center for severe cases is under finalization. Additional support is required to bring to scale preparedness and response capacity.


On 18 March a member of a foreign contingent was Djibouti’s first diagnosed case of COVID-19. The patient had no contact with the local population and was eventually repatriated the following day.
Between 17-23 March, some 46 suspect cases have been quarantined at Bouffard hospital in Djibouti City where they all tested negative for COVID-19 except two. Health authorities are now investigating people who have been in contact with the two positive cases. All travelers who reached Djibouti in the last two weeks are also being actively located for testing.
All passenger traffic, including humanitarian and military flights, has been suspended till further notice.
Cargo flights are allowed, but disruption in some services and supply chains, including DHL, have already been noticed. Local transportation has seen a slowdown, and the government, starting 22 March, imposed passenger limitations and hygiene practices to all public transport means.
As preventive measure, schools closed on 19 March for two weeks, mosques, sport events and bars on 21 March. The Ministry of Education is working on a radio televised education curriculum in case closure of schools is extended. As of 23 March, the Government announced closure of public and private entities for one week (staff at home with full pay), with the exception of essential services, and called for a general lockdown.
At the global level, the UN Secretary General called for global solidarity and highlighted the need to tackle the health emergency, but also focus on the social impact and the economic response, so to ‘better’ recover, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Social protection measures are imperative to protect the ‘new poor’ generated by the situation. ‘A global recession – perhaps of record dimensions – is a near certainty [and] the ILO has just reported that workers around the world could lose as much as 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars in income by the end of this year’, he said.