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UNHCR East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes Region COVID-19 External Update #19 ( 3 – 16 September 2020)

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 29 September, there were 152,549 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 11 countries overseen by the EHAGL Bureau. For the past two weeks, the EHAGL region reports 10% of the total COVID-19 cases in Africa, as well as 20% of the total tests reported on the continent. Since the first confirmed COVID-19 related death on 21 March, there are now some reported 3,069 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 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.

In Uganda, on 20 September, the President of the Republic gave his 20th address on COVID-19. He spoke on several issues pertaining to the preventive measures on the spread of the pandemic. The reopening of schools for finalists will take place on 15 October. The international airport and land borders, which had been closed since March, will reopen on 1 October. Movement restrictions between border districts will also be lifted.