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UNHCR East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes Region COVID-19 External Update #19 (3 – 16 September 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 seventh 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 15 September, there were 137,792 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 11 countries overseen by the EHAGL Bureau. Of the reported figures this past two weeks, the EHAGL region reported 10% of the total COVID-19 cases in Africa. Total tests reported as at 21% of the total test figures. Since the first confirmed COVID-19 related death on 21 March, there are now 2, 815 reported deaths in the region (equivalent to 9% of the death cases on the continent) of which 89% 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 few 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. In Rwanda, the Ministry of Health has announced the initiation of home-based case strategy for asymptomatic, mild and moderate COVID-19 cases. UNHCR and partners are engaging with refugee hosting districts on the implementation of the new approach in the refugee camps. In Somalia, the lockdown imposed at the Aden Adde International airport (AAIA) to minimize the spread of COVID-19 is extended to 19 September