Since 13 April, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Somalia has spiked rapidly from 25 to 390 (286 male,104 female) as of 25 April. Eighteen people have died and 10 others recovered. Those affected include 15 health workers. After a handful of initial cases related to travel, community transmission now accounts for the vast majority of cases. Concerns remain over the possible spread of the virus to some 2,000 congested IDP settlements where social distancing is impossible and adherence to infection prevention control measures is challenging.
Banadir region is the most affected with 379 confirmed cases.
Six cases have been reported in Somaliland – the first two in Berbera and Burao; one in Galmudug, one in Puntland and three in Jubaland. Apart from Mogadishu, Hargeisa and Garowe, there is no testing capacity, and there is a lack of isolation and treatment facilities, thus limiting the capacity to contact trace and test cases. All states have, however, announced variouscontrol measures such as closing borders, suspending flights, closing schools and banning large gatherings. The ability and willingness of the population to adhere to these directives remain mixed and the spread of community transmission is increasing.
In the last few weeks, humanitarian agencies reprioritized and reprogrammed activities to try and avert large-scale community transmission through enhanced risk communication, surveillance, rapid response and testing, training and deploying health workers with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), establishing isolation centres and escalating hygiene and WASH promotion.
Despite progress in scaling up preparedness and responses, significant gaps remain: lack of funding, limited numbers of skilled health workers, insufficient testing capacity, inadequate supplies of necessary equipment and limited isolation facilities. In addition, access to people living in hard-to-reach areas or areas controlled by non-state actors, which was already an issue, remains difficult.