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UNHCR East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes Region COVID-19 External Update #17 (6-19 August 2020)

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Situation Report
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Operational Context

The COVID-19 situation in the East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes (EHAGL) region has entered its sixth month since the first cases were reported in March 2020. As the situation continues to evolve, the region is still relatively less impacted than the rest of the continent. As of 18 August, there were 92,373 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 11 countries overseen by the EHAGL Bureau. Of the reported figures this past week, the EHAGL region reported an increase from 7% to 8% of the total COVID-19 cases in Africa, as well as in increase from 17% to 18% of the total tests reported on the continent. Since the first confirmed COVID-19 related death on 21 March, there are now some reported 2,110 deaths in the region (equivalent to 8% of the death cases on the continent) of which 82% are in three countries – Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.

While so far there has been no large-scale outbreak in the approximately 100 refugee camps and settlements in the region, 4.6 million refugees and their host communities are at risk, as are some 8.1 million IDPs. The need for preparedness remains urgent as cases are still rising in all countries of the region and a number of locations still lack adequate quarantine, testing and isolation/treatment facilities.

Governments have put in place various measures to contain the spread of the virus and are periodically announcing changes to movement and other restrictions, and gradually lifting preventive measures initially adopted. On 6 August, the Federal Government of Somalia lifted the international flight restrictions to and from Kismayo, the main city in Jubaland, which it had imposed in August 2019 following the disputed re-election of the current president of Jubaland and the ensuing political stalemate between the Federal Government and Jubaland. The lifting of this restriction will facilitate the arrival of essential supplies to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic