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UNICEF Europe & Central Asia Region (ECARO) Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Situation Report No. 12, 23 July – 26 August 2020

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UNICEF
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Highlights

UNICEF works in 22 countries and territories in Europe and Central Asia Region (ECAR) and is present in Italy, supporting refugee and migrant populations.

• Between July and August, a surge in new COVID-19 cases in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, and Turkey became a sharp reminder that preventive measures must be respected as containment measures are lifted and countries prepare to welcome children back to school.

• Over one million people have already benefited from critical WASH supplies, including hygiene items. In the reporting period, UNICEF provided technical guidance to Governments to ensure the safe reopening of schools which highlighted the critical importance of having in place, adequate supplies of soap and sanitisers; strict protocols to implement safe distances, regular disinfecting and other measures; and comprehensive communication campaigns to encourage children, teachers and parents adhere to safe behaviours.

• UNICEF-supported distance learning in ECAR has already reached nearly 25 million children. During the reporting period, the launch of more inclusive learning platforms, teacher training on conducting online lessons more effectively, and the distribution of printed class material to children without internet access, will help improve the quality of learning for many who will continue their schooling from home.

• UNICEF has reached over 178 million people with COVID-19 prevention and safety messages through online platforms and social media. During the reporting period, in the context of COVID-19, UNICEF’s region-wide social media campaign promoting Breastfeeding Week offered much-needed answers and reassurance for new parents. UNICEF also engaged a range of health professionals, from nurses to hospital specialists, on UNICEF/WHO technical guidance on safe breastfeeding.

• Close to 2.2 million children, parents and primary caregivers were provided with community-based mental health and psychosocial support.

• UNICEF’s Office of Research-Innocenti published “Supporting Families and Children beyond COVID-19: Social Protection in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia” which provides a critical analysis to support strong, evidence-based advocacy to maintain spending levels for child-focused social services and raise the profile of social protection programmes as a proven response to crises.