All 23 countries in the region have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases, with Lesotho's first confirmed case on 12 May. South Africa has highest number of new cases in the region and the continent, with 7,808 cases and 153 deaths.
There are varying degrees of testing with Malawi as the lowest with 70 tests per 1 million population compared to 18,845 in Mauritius. Private sector testing is still limited to South Africa and Kenya. Over 500,000 people have been tested in the region with South Africa accounting for over 65% of the total tests done.
Some countries are easing restrictions, with Madagascar the first country to lift lockdown and reopen schools.
UNFPA is working with governments and partners to address COVID-19, and ensure continuity of services.
UNFPA established a tracking matrix for disruption of health services to verify and support countries to respond.
Burundi has upcoming elections with political rallies and minimal social distancing, which could potentially lead to an increase in infections. The Malawi government attempt to institute a lockdown was rejected after a court injunction.
Almost 4 million refugees and over 9 million internally displaced persons are faced with limited humanitarian access.
Over 45 million food insecure people in Southern Africa have been hard hit by the socio-economic impact of the restrictions, especially Zimbabwe. the desert locust invasion in the East and Horn of Africa with COVID-19 poses a food crisis, which could have significant effects on women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and potentially lead to a rise in gender-based violence (GBV).
All country offices supported and commemorated the International Day of the Midwife with governments and partners honoring the role of midwives in the COVID-19 response.