The COVID-19 situation in the East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes (EHAGL) region is in its tenth 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 13 January 2021, there were 319,401 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 11 countries overseen by the EHAGL Bureau. For the past month, the EHAGL region reported 10% of the total COVID-19 cases in Africa, as well as 18% of the total tests reported on the continent. There are now some 5,899 reported deaths in the region, (equivalent to 8% of the death cases on the continent) of which the majority are in three countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan.
While so far there has still been no large-scale outbreak in the approximately 100 refugee camps and settlements in the region, 4.6 million refugees and their host communities remain at risk, as do some 8.1 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 movement and other restrictions, and gradually lifting preventive measures initially adopted. COVID-19 prevention and awareness have now been integrated in most of UNHCR’s activities across the region.
The declaration of a six-month state of emergency and ongoing conflict in the Tigray Region in Ethiopia has led to a humanitarian crisis, including for tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees who reside there, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced, and with the arrival of 58,000 Ethiopian refugees to Sudan in the last two months. Efforts are being made to include COVID-19 precautions in the response to this new emergency.
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees