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UNHCR East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes Region COVID-19 External Update (20-28 May 2020)

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The COVID-19 situation in the East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes (EHAGL) region continues to evolve. As of 27 May, there were 12,515 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the countries covered by UNHCR’s EHAGL Regional Bureau. While there has been no large-scale outbreak amongst UNHCR’s populations of concern so far, 4.6 million refugees and 8.1 million IDPs and their host communities are at risk. The need for preparedness remains urgent as cases of local transmission have now been reported in all countries of the region. Measures by governments in the region to contain the spread of COVID-19 continue to evolve, with certain countries beginning to relax restriction measures. In Uganda, for example, in his last address to the nation on 20 May, the President announced timelines for the easing of lockdown measures. As from 26 May, private cars will be allowed back on the road with maximum three people, while public transport will be allowed to operate at half capacity from 4 June. Wearing a mask in public is mandatory and schools, borders and the airport remain closed. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the region is currently experiencing a number of other disease outbreaks including yellow fever, malaria, cholera, and measles, alongside heavy rains and floods.