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Coronavirus - Africa: International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) COVID-19 Regional Overview on Mobility Restrictions

The current outbreak of COVID-19 has affected global mobility in the form of various travel disruptions and restrictions. To better understand how COVID-19 affects global mobility, IOM has developed a global mobility database to map and gather data on the locations, status and different restrictions at Ports of Entry (PoEs), globally (see In the East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) region, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams in nine of the ten countries covered by IOM Nairobi Regional Office are actively collecting information on various PoEs, internal transit locations, as well as other areas of interest in an effort to better understand the extent of these restrictions, as well as the impact on different types of population groups. This report is developed as a close collaboration between IOM’s divisions and units, in particular: DTM, Migration Health Division (MHD), Immigration and Border Management (IBM), and Migrant Protection and Assistance Division (MPA).

  • The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region has continued to increase, exceeding 34,000 as of 16 July 2020. The East and Horn of Africa region represents 5.1% of the total Africa COVID-19 cases. Majority of cases are through community transmission with most been asymptomatic, except Uganda that is still experiencing higher incidence of imported cases versus local transmission, and Eritrea detecting new cases among returnee citizens. As of 16 July 2020, the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the region stood at 585. Number of recovered cases is also increasing, with a total of 15,820 cumulative recoveries (46% of cases in the region), and fatality rate (1.7%) is still below the Africa (2.6%) and global (4.3%) averages showing contained number of severity case in the region;

  • A high trend of local transmission can be seen in Kenya with 10,793 (92%) of the 11,673 cases being of local transmission. Unlike previous trends, Kenya recorded the highest number of confirmed cases in the region, passing Djibouti. Rwanda, which had a community outbreak in Rusizi and Rusomo districts, is currently having high-risk isolated clusters in Kigali where mass testing is carried out. Burundi is also experiencing a rise in community transmission with new cases reported from a massive testing campaign started on 6 July 2020 where 108 new cases were reported positive from 4,959 samples tested as at 16 July 2020. In Eritrea, cases have been reported from tests carried out in quarantine centres among nationals who are returnees from Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Yemen through irregular routes. The number of confirmed cases in South Sudan has risen to 2,191 with new cases confirmed daily, which is a serious cause of concern due to the high presence of migrants and vulnerable people. Djibouti and Somalia continue to experience a steady increase in new detected cases with a cumulative of 4,993 and 3,106 cases, respectively. Ethiopia is experiencing an exponential rise in community transmission with above 200 new cases reported on a daily basis with 8,803 total confirmed cases;

  • An increasing number of COVID-19 cases continues to be reported among truck drivers in the region, creating a major concern for the spread of the virus among border communities and along transport corridors. As of 16 July 2020, a total of 2,590 truck drivers were confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the region and most of these cases were reported at Ugandan and Kenya Points of Entry (PoEs). 2,098 (81%) of the cases were reported in Uganda, 374 (14%) cases reported in Kenya, 107 (4%) cases reported in Rwanda and 11 (0.4%) cases reported in South Sudan. An estimated 526 trucks are reported to transit daily through the Busia PoE and 972 through the Malaba PoE. Many truck drivers and crew found COVID-19 positive at border points are returned to their countries of origin, creating a conducive ground for further spread. Between 12 June and 16 July, 139 Ugandan truck drivers and 760 foreign truck drivers tested positive for COVID-19 in Uganda. Currently the number of positive cases among migrants and IDPs is still contained with 19 cases in South Sudan within the major Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites in Malakal, Juba and Bentiu, which altogether host some 156,000 IDPs;

  • IOM is working to assist member states to strengthen disease surveillance and prevention at PoEs and will specifically address the current backlog of target truck drivers and crew caused by mandatory COVID-19 testing. IOM is leading interventions at PoEs and is working closely with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to begin COVID-19 testing for truck drivers at Busia-Malaba one stop border points where majority of the cases detected among truck drivers in the region have been reported.