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Coronavirus – Africa: COVID-19 Emergency Response – Regional Bureau for Southern Africa, 6 August 2020



Since the beginning of UNHCR’s COVID-19 response in Southern Africa

1,885 health workers trained on COVID-19 prevention and response

4,363 additional hand washing facilities established

329,345 households received soap for handwashing to prevent COVID-19

Operational Context

As of 4 August 2020, there are a reported 566,991 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 16 countries covered by UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Southern Africa. This represents a 30 per cent increase in cases over a two-week period. 92 per cent of all reported cases in the region are in South Africa, which is now 5th highest in the world in terms of COVID-19 cases.

Governments across the region continue to take precautionary measures to limit the spread of the virus, though many of the stricter measures, such as lockdowns, movement restrictions, and closure of borders, schools and shops, have been gradually eased in recent weeks. However, as case numbers have started to rise sharply in some countries, restrictions are being re-introduced in an effort to curb the upward trend.

UNHCR is working with governments, World Health Organization and other UN agencies and NGOs to secure the inclusion of people of concern – refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and stateless people – and host communities in preparedness and response measures for COVID-19.

UNHCR and partners have committed to a ‘stay and deliver’ approach, continuing to provide critical services and assistance while adopting social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation measures. This includes implementation of strict health protocols at distribution points, the use of hotlines to report protection issues and assistance needs, and support to virtual and distance learning and capacity building. UNHCR has also been expanding its outreach efforts in the region with the support of partners and community volunteers to spread the message among persons of concern and their host communities about COVID-19 prevention and services.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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