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Republic of Djibouti: COVID-19 Situation Report #9, 17 May - 2 June 2020

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UNCT Djibouti
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  • Some 3,779 cases of COVID-19 and 25 fatalities have been confirmed by authorities in Djibouti to date. Continued and significant increase of reported cases in the last few weeks indicating an active circulation of the virus at the community level.

  • Ease of the lockdown since 17 May.

  • The Government launched a mass screening campaign aiming to test up to 50,000 additional people for COVID-19.


  • As of 2 June 2020, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 3,779 cases of COVID-19 in Djibouti (32% women). A total of 25 fatalities in Djibouti since the beginning of the crisis.

  • WHO in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other partners, developed a preparedness and response plan for COVID-19 back in February 2020, and opted to use the comparative advantages of Djibouti to respond to the pandemic. The strategic plan was based on a proactive testing modality, with isolation and treatment of positive cases and extensive contact tracing around every positive case. Since the reporting of the first case of COVID-19 in Djibouti on 17 March 2020, the Ministry of Health implemented the strategy as previously agreed and largely based on the WHO recommendations in a very systematic and strict way that lead to one of the most successful responses to COVID-19 in the Region and in Africa. The tremendous work done by the government of Djibouti and the Ministry of Health was highly appreciated on the global level and praised by the UN Secretary General and WHO Director General.

  • In the last few weeks the curve of COVID-19 epidemic in the country started to remarkably change, with a significant upward increase suggesting that the epidemic entered a phase of extensive community transmission. The worsening epidemic curve comes at a time when the socio-economic situation forced the lifting of the lockdown put in place since the start of the pandemic. According to WHO, the pandemic has more chances to be controlled when the response strategy is adapted to the current epidemiological situation and refocused on the principles of testing, isolating, treating and contact tracing (especially the elderly and the vulnerable populations) supported by a strong risk communication campaign. As the number of reported cases continue to climb, it is highly recommended to come back to the pillars of the original strategy in order to contain the pandemic and limit the morbidity and mortality linked with the disease, and regain the success achieved by the country during the first two months. The whole United Nations system continues to stand ready to support the response to COVID-19 in Djibouti both in the health sector and beyond.

  • The Ministry of Health launched a mass screening campaign aiming to test up to 50,000 additional people for COVID-19 in Djibouti.

  • In the framework of the fight against COVID-19, the President of the Republic visited the University of Djibouti on 19 May to see the devices set up by the creative space, FabLab, financed by IOM and provisions made by young engineers to facilitate the resumption of courses. The FabLab presented prototypes of disinfection tunnels and 3D printed protective visors for nursing staff as well as a mechanical ventilator for patients with respiratory complications created using 3D modeling and the lab's CNC (computer numerical control) machines. The President appreciated the University of Djibouti ‘valuable contribution to the national coronavirus control programme’ and the engineers created items conducive to the protection and treatment of coronavirus through the new technology. Furthermore, he urged the academic community to respect barrier measures and called for individual responsibility and collective awareness to continue relentlessly in the fight against the current pandemic worldwide.

  • On 27 May the Minister of Muslim Affairs, Culture and Waqf Assets, took part in the virtual forum of Ministers of Culture of the African Union, that allowed participants to share experiences for the sector to cope with the pandemic. A plan of action to support the arts, culture and heritage sector in Africa, to examine social security schemes to limit the impact of COVID-19 on cultural workers and to share good practices was adopted.

  • On 28 May, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Jamaican Prime Minister and Canadian Prime Minister led a call for global cooperation to mitigate the devastating social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the UN, if countries don’t band together to establish a recovery plan, the pandemic could cost the world USD 8.5 trillion and drive 34.3 million people into severe poverty this year alone. “We are in an unprecedented human crisis because of a microscopic virus,” and “we need to respond with unity and solidarity and key aspect of solidarity is financial support,” the UN Secretary General said.