Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
As of July 22, up to 6,433 COVID-19 cases were reported in Gabon with an overall downward trend indicating that the pandemic is flattening if not slightly decreasing. It was documented that the infection rate fell from above 20% at the onset of the pandemic to currently around 12%. Over 59,671 tests were carried out and the testing capacity substantially increased both in terms of equipment and provincial coverage as four more new laboratories were operationalized in 5 out of 9 provinces during the reporting period. This benefited Port-Gentil, the Economic capital and the second most populated province in the Country as well as Oyem where polyvalent testing centers were set up. The death toll remains as low as 1% with 46 fatalities and the recovery rate improved, rising from 44% to 57%. For the disaggregated data, women represent 42%, men 58%, under five children 1% and children aged 5 to 18 years 6.5%.
Four months since the first reported positive case, the COVID-19 National Steering Committee has in its first comprehensive assessment confirmed the downward infection tendency, the significant decrease of hospitalization and the steady improvement of the recovery rate recommending thus the waiver of main health facilities requisition.
The Government has lifted most of the lockdown measures by June the 30th mainly with the restoration of interprovincial commuting and partially of the international flights, hotel and restaurant reopening as well as the easing of the nightly curfew hours. It enacted the gradual and phased school resumption starting by the baccalaureate examination classes which have resumed on July 15.
A new Government was named July 16th in the most significant cabinet reshuffle since the outbreak of the pandemic with the appointment for the first-ever female Prime Minister in the country. The newly appointed Ministry of Public Health is very familiar with the overall COVID-19 response, as he was the spokesperson of the National Steering Committee. This cabinet reshuffle unfolds at a time where the Government is weighing options and putting forth numerous policies, reforms, programme and social schemes to limit the impact the COVID-19 effects on the economy and on vulnerable communities’ livelihoods.
For measles, the outbreak did not evolve with only 8 reported cases, but the epidemiological surveillance is, nonetheless, being stepped up and the immunization campaign actively prepared by the EPI/MoH in partnership with UNICEF and WHO.
UNICEF is proactively accompanying the Government and delivering a multidimensional response that covers the most urgent humanitarian priorities for children and the continuity of services.