Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Since March 13, Mauritania has been facing the COVID-19 pandemic with its first death recorded on March 30. Following the identification of the first cases, the Government imposed strong restrictions for preventing the transmission of the virus.
These restrictions included schools’ closure, travel bans, curfews, 21-day isolation of passengers who came with the last in-bound flights, closure of non-essential shops, face masks in public spaces and suspension of air traffic. The Government directly activated its preparedness plan and stepped up its response to the pandemic. The Ministry of Health developed a response plan supported by the United Nations system together with the country’s development partners. In April, a new containment center for the quarantine of suspicious cases opened and a multidisciplinary team was assigned to follow up on persons placed in quarantine. In May, the Government adopted a multisectoral response plan to COVID-19 encompassing the preexisting response plan from the Ministry of Health and completed with the response to the economic and social impact of the pandemic.
The restrictive measures in place since mid-March were partially eased on 6 May, with the reopening of shops and markets, and easing of the curfew. Following the peak of the pandemic and the related reduction of cases in June, the Government decided to close the containment centers for asymptomatic patients and developed a new strategy of COVID-19 cohabitation. Under this strategy, UNICEF, jointly with WFP, committed to support the Government to provide critical social assistance support in the short and medium term, while contributing to strengthen national social protection systems in the medium to longer term. Immediate support is planned to respond to the needs generated by the pandemic, as well as helping the strengthening overall national capacities to adapt and build more shock-responsive, nutrition- and child-sensitive social protection systems moving forward.