UNHCR’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY
AN UPDATE FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS INCLUDING REFUGEE COMMUNITIES, GOVERNMENT COUNTERPARTS & UNHCR /PARTNERS
(05 October 2020)
This update provides information on UNHCR’s response to the challenges related to the new coronavirus, COVID-19, the effect the pandemic has or may have on people of concern to UNHCR, and the strategies being pursued in Zambia Operation.
A: Nationally Epidemiological Situation
• The COVID-19 national recovery rate continues to be around 90 percent and the positivity rate steadily keeps going down;
• As of today, the cumulative COVID-19 cases stands at 15,052, including14,187 (94%) recovered and 333 (2.2%) deaths;
• Two refugees have so far tested positive to COVID-19 and subsequently recovered since June ending; no new cases have been recorded.
• Inter-agency coordination: UNHCR participated in the National information management system (IMS) virtual meeting held on 22 Sept 2020 and Intra Action Review conducted from 23-25 Sept 2020.
• Schools Resumption: Schools which closed in mid-March 2020 as part of the COVID-19 prevention measures re-opened between 21- 28 September to non-examination classes. UNHCR’s strategy is to ensure schools meet the Government established COVID-19 guidelines for re-opening across the three refugee settlements. This means accelerating WASH projects, increasing school supplies such as thermo scanners, hand-washing facilities and masks, as more children return to school. Examination classes went back to classes three months ago.
• Socio-economic Response: The Minister of Finance announced Zambia’s 2020 Government national budget of K119.6 billion (US$6B), with increased funding, in nominal terms, to health, to, among other things, combat COVID-19.
• Back to Office: HQ has sent out guidelines for Back to work for UN staff. An appeal to all staff is that we should not relax in following the prevention measures at all. Be safe and protect yourselves and your families.
Good Practices/ Innovative Approaches
• All new arrivals are screened for COVID-19, quarantined for at least 14 days and sensitized on the pandemic at the transit centres across all three refugee settlements and Lusaka.
• During the reporting period 104 new arrivals (including 37 in Meheba and 49 in Mayukwayukwa and 18 in Mantapala refugee settlements) were tested for COVID-19. This is a preventive measure adopted by the Government, UNHCR and partners.