It has been sixteen 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 13 July 2021, there were 691,864 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 11 countries and 5,175,244 total vaccination doses given in 8 of the 11 countries overseen by the EHAGL Bureau. The EHAGL region reported 11% of the total COVID-19 cases in Africa, as well as 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 14,713 deaths in the region, (equivalent to 10% of the death cases on the continent) majority in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan.
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 as countries undergo second and third waves. 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.