Since 16 March when the coronavirus was first reported in Somalia, confirmed cases have surged to 2,894, with 90 associated deaths and 887 recoveries. The cases, which include 133 health workers across the country, have mostly resulted from community transmission, and men constitute nearly two-thirds. The coronavirus has exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities, disrupted positive gains in socio-economic activities and affected livelihoods especially for low-income earners. Furthermore, the cases have surged at a time that Somalia is struggling to contain floods that have affected nearly a million people and desert locusts that are devouring crops and pasture in Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug; creating a triple threat. Concern is growing that the virus may spread to IDP settlements, where 2.6 million live in congested shelters.
UN agencies and partners have scaled up their responses to the pandemic, despite COVID-19-related operational challenges such as most staff working from home, in restricted environments or remotely; restrictions on flights and closure of borders thereby disrupting supply chains. The agencies and partners have built the capacity of the health system including supporting the establishment and operation of testing laboratories in Mogadishu, Garowe and Hargeysa; provided equipment and operational support to hospitals, isolation centres and laboratories; and scaled up awareness-raising. At the same time, ongoing humanitarian operations are continuing. In May, 2.3 million people received food assistance, with amounts scaled up to mitigate food security implications by distributing combined two-month rations