Update on COVID-19
During the past week, Ethiopia has seen a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 case with 539 new infections reported- bringing the cumulative total to 968 cases. Overall, 197 patients have recovered while there have been eight fatalities reported. So far, Ethiopia has tested a total of 101,581 individuals for the coronavirus. All regions, except Gambella have reported positive cases.
As of today, there are no confirmed coronavirus infections in the camps and other locations sheltering refugees and asylum seekers. The Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), UNHCR and partners continue to intensify efforts to prevent and limit the virus from spreading to the Refugee Camps hosting most of the over 761,000 refugees in the country. UNHCR is also supporting local and regional authorities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in parts of the country that have been affected by conflict-induced displacement situations.
Prevention and response: Humanitarian agencies led by ARRA and UNHCR continue to build on the early actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Refugee Camps while ensuring unhindered delivery of regular protection and life-saving assistance to persons of concern. Community sensitization about the disease continues in the camps as well as in the urban locations where refugees and asylum seekers are hosted. Supply of soap and water have been enhanced and services continue to be delivered in a manner that considers the physical distancing requirements. Hygiene promotion is a day-to-day activity in the camps facilitated by the expansion of handwashing facilities. For example, 108 communal and 10,639 household handwashing facilities have been set up in the Melkadida camps while those in Gambella have 306 communal and 13,286 household handwashing stations. Thousands of handwashing stations have been installed in camps in the other regions as well to instill handwashing behavior as a way to prevent COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Water supplies are being constantly improved including through water trucking to mitigate shortages. In Tierkidi and Nguenyyiel camps in Gambella, UNHCR, in collaboration with UNICEF and Oxfam, is trucking an average of 540,000 litres of water per day from an emergency water treatment plant in Itang along the Baro river. In Jijiga, additional water tanks have been installed in all three camps to meet the growing demand for water.