As of 5 April 2020, Somalia has seven confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Federal Government of Somalia has since activated various response measures including: establishment of national COVID-19 response committees; formation of an incident management system; temporarily suspension of incoming and outgoing international flights; and establishment of isolation facilities across the country.
The Government has also initiated comprehensive risk communication and community engagement strategies aimed at empowering communities to be active participants in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Some of these initiatives include, ordering the closure of schools; restriction of mass gatherings; advise on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures including social distancing; and hand and respiratory hygiene among others.
In spite of these efforts, Somalia has a fragile health system and limited capacity to respond and prevent potential spread of COVID-19. It does not have the capacity to test COVID-19, challenging the ability for an early detection.
The situation is further compounded by protracted humanitarian crisis in Somalia, one of the most complex and longstanding emergencies in the world, characterized by both natural and man-made factors. Somalia is currently facing the Desert Locust Crisis, whilst simultaneously preparing for the Gu rainy season, which is expected to be above average in some parts of Somalia. With 2.6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), COVID-19 poses an additional challenge in already fragile context where it may further hinder access to basic services, leaving the population highly vulnerable. The durable solutions and resilience efforts invested over the last years could easily be reversed if the humanitarian and development actors do not act quickly towards preparedness and response to COVID-19.
As a key source, transit and, to some extent, destination country for migratory flows, Somalia continues to have an influx of migrants from neighboring countries through irregular migration routes, especially from Ethiopia. In addition, a growing number of Somalis are returning from Yemen.
On 31 December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia of unknown etymology was reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of the People’s Republic of China. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee announced that the pathogen known as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), now constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Since the outbreak, over 1,133,758 confirmed cases and 62,784 deaths globally, while in the Africa region, there have been 6,420 confirmed and 236 deaths (WHO Situation Report 5 April 2020).
Under the leadership of the WHO, a Global Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 was launched on 3 February emphasizing the criticality of the United Nations and partners to urgently contribute to preparedness and response efforts. Currently WHO assesses the global risk of this event to be very high.