• South Africa – the most COVID-19 affected country on the continent – remained on Alert Level 1 during October and work goes on to prevent a potential resurgence. UNICEF and partners are further scaling up risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) efforts ahead of the holiday season, including an expanded partnership with the South African Red Cross Society.
• The positive news is that COVID-19 prevention measures are being taken seriously: latest government statistics reported a sharp increase in mask-wearing among the population (from 49% to 74%) and hand-sanitiser use (from 10% to 35%) between May and August.
• An ‘Emergency Action Plan’ for children was adopted at the 11th African Child Trauma Conference to accelerate action to stop violence against children and to provide the nurturing environment that children need to survive and thrive.
• The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 725,452, with COVID-19 related deaths at 19,276 and the recovery rate now stands at 90%.
• Despite the government taking a proactive approach in the reopening of schools, the latest National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey, Wave 2, statistics show that most school children will have lost 40% of school days during 2020.
• On World Mental Health Day, UNICEF released the findings of its latest U-Report survey showing how 72% of young people reported depressive symptoms during the hard lockdown. Government statistics also showed that the prevalence of depressive symptoms among the population doubled between 2017 and 2020 (COVID-19 era), from 12% to 24% of individuals.