Situation Overview Two months after Somalia reported the first confirmed COVID-19 case on 16 March, the numbers have surged to 1,421 cases (72 per cent male, 28 per cent female), 56 deaths and 152 recoveries as of 17 May. As a result, Somalia now has one of the highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in east Africa region. Although the majority of the cases are in Banadir region, the number reported in other parts of the country is increasing. Cases continue to be under reported, and according to WHO, the actual rates are likely to be higher. The confirmed cases include four doctors at Kismayo general hospital who tested positive for COVID and are now in self quarantine; a situation that has affected normal operations at the facility.
The Federal Government and member states, United Nations and partners are working tirelessly to mitigate the spread and impact of the pandemic: targeting six million people every week through risk communication and community engagement, assisting the authorities to detect, prevent and interrupt COVID-19 transmission and supporting access to life-saving health care services across the country.
Treatment and isolation facilities have been expanded, COVID-19 restrictions and measures instituted such as closing educational insitutions, community health and rapid response teams trained and deployed, health equipment delivered to various locations, and three laboratories capable of detecting COVID-19 are now functional at Mogadishu, Garowe and Hargyeisa.
With widespread flooding across the country and a resurgence of the locust infestation already in parts of Somalia, and the existing humanitarian and socio-economic needs before the COVID-19 crisis started, Somalia is facing a triple threat for which urgent support and assistance is required to ensure gains made over the past decade do not unravel. Already, the outbreak of COVID-19 has had a significant economic impact. The Federal Government is projecting an 11 percent decline in nominal GDP for 2020, remittances that are received by an estimated 40 per cent of Somali households have dropped by as much as 50 per cent and revenue collection has dropped.
Flooding has displaced 412,000 people in 29 districts as of 17 May, forcing many of them to seek shelter on higher ground, often in crowded shelters in nearby villages. This, according to WHO,could elevate the risk of COVID-19 transmission as the virus can easily be transmitted in densely populated settings. Apart from the elevated risk for the elderly and people with underlying conditions, there are also concerns that the virus could take toll on persons with disabilities. An estimated 15 per cent of Somalia’s population live with some form of disability. In addition, the Shelter Cluster has identified 237 IDP sites that host over 98,000 IDP households as high-risk sites for virus transmission.