It is fourteen months since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes (EHAGL) in March 2020. While the situation continues to evolve, the region is still relatively less impacted than the rest of the continent. As of 4 May 2021, there were 565,808 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 11 countries in the region. The EHAGL region reported 12% of the total COVID-19 cases in Africa, and 17% of the total tests reported on the continent. Since the first confirmed COVID-19 related death on 21 March 2020, there are now some reported 10,643 deaths in the region, (equivalent to 9% of the death cases in the continent), majority in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya.
While there has still been no large-scale outbreak in the approximately 100 refugee camps and settlements in the region, 4.72 million refugees and their host communities remain at risk, as do some 8.74 million IDPs. Some 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 movements and other restrictions, and gradually lifting restrictive measures initially adopted. COVID-19 prevention and awareness have now been integrated in most of UNHCR’s activities across the region.
Key Measures Taken
• Supporting national authorities in ensuring that prevention, preparedness, and response are ongoing in all locations.
• Ensuring basic assistance and minimum standards during quarantine for new asylum-seekers and for refugees who have travelled internally within host countries.
• Ongoing procurement and distribution of PPE, health and sanitation equipment and supplies.