COVID-19 Situation Report No. 5 for UNFPA East and Southern Africa

30 June 2020

Publisher: UNFPA

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Regional Situation

  • COVID-19 continues to take an upward trajectory over the last four months with a sharp rise during the last month; four-fold increase from just under 50,000 in early June. All countries in the region have registered confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Over 60% of confirmed cases are among 20-50 year-olds, the most socially and economically active group; significant mortality is found among those aged 40-60 (36%) and 60-80 (44%). Males account for 58% of confirmed cases.
  • South Africa accounts for 81% of confirmed cases and 79% of deaths. This is due to high testing rates and reporting as compared to other countries. 
  • Countries that had not reported new cases see a surge in new cases, as restrictions are lifted for economic recovery. Seychelles reported over 72 new cases in one day, after 79 days with no new cases, due to resumption of commercial fishing by foreign firms. 
  • Many countries are struggling to clear testing backlogs. Increasing rates of hospitalization pose a serious strain on health facilities and compromise continuity of essential health services.
  • Low risk perception, economic pressure, limited risk communication and community engagement and high-handed enforcement, fuel non-compliance with preventive measures.
  • Close to 4 million refugees and over 9 million internally displaced persons face limited humanitarian access. Armed intercommunal and political clashes in South Sudan and ongoing violence in Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique increased displacement. 
  • Over 45 million food insecure people in Southern Africa have been hit hard by the social and economic impact of the restrictions, with Zimbabwe hit hardest with a combination of economic collapse and food insecurity.  An invasion of the African migratory locusts has been reported in Southern Africa in June, signaling a looming food crisis in the region; this could have a significant effect on women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and lead to a rise in GBV.
  • The loss of employment by migrants in Southern Africa during the lockdowns and irregular migrant status may raise their vulnerability, especially among women and girls. Many migrants returned to their countries of origin through irregular border crossings, which can increase risk of sexual exploitation and abuse.

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