UNHCR Ethiopia: COVID-19 and Operational Update (8 May 2021)
COVID-19 Operational Context
As of 7 May 2021, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) reported 261,580 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and 3,840 deaths in the country. A total of 1,287,801 people in priority groups were vaccinated against COVID-19, including 1,218 refugees. According to an update by the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Ethiopia, on average 815 positive cases were reported over the last seven days with the average positivity rate standing at 10%. To halt the surge in transmissions, Ethiopia has put in place strict measures focusing on monitoring implementation of preventive measures such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distances, including limiting the number of participants in face-to-face meetings to 50. Ethiopia is currently one of five countries in Africa registering the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases, according to WHO.
COVID-19 Prevention and Response
Ethiopia continues to implement COVID-19 vaccinations to priority groups including frontline health workers, individuals with underlying severe vulnerability conditions and elderly people. As of 7 May 2021, a total of 1,287,801 people were vaccinated in the capital Addis Ababa and in the Regional States. This number includes 1,218 refugees who are part of the priority groups, most of them providing community outreach and healthcare support in the various refugee camps. Based on the criteria set out by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, priority groups will continue to be inoculated against the virus as per the national rollout plans.
The Government’s Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA) and UNHCR, together with the Regional Health Bureaus and other health partners, continue to reinforce prevention measures in the refugee camps and other locations sheltering refugees and asylum seekers. They include enhanced communications on personal and environmental hygiene, reducing overcrowding and the promotion of handwashing with soap. Supplies of water and soap continue to be provided, together with the installation of handwashing stations, as well as strengthening of health services and the provision of personal protective equipment for health care workers, first responders and others, depending on availability.