Coronavirus - Democratic Republic of the Congo: UNHCR Update on COVID-19 Response
14 provinces are now affected by COVID-19
There are growing fears that COVID-19 may also reach refugeehosting areas of northern DRC through neighbouring Bangui
As of 18 July, there were 8,403 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the DRC, with 193 reported deaths. No case has been confirmed amongst UNHCR’s persons of concern in the DRC so far.
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As of 29 June, an estimated total of 1,2 million refugees, internally displaced persons and host community members had been reached by awareness-raising sessions on COVID-19, carried out by UNHCR and partners.
As of 29 June, UNHCR had installed 3,125 handwashing stations across DRC (including 469 donated to authorities and 441 to health structures), over 102,000 persons received soap, and 2,069 community infrastructures had been disinfected (dormitories, community structures, etc.).
As part of the “Tine Mungu” pilot project (meaning “protect yourself”) launched since late April, South Sudanese refugees and locals have so far produced 2,450 masks out of 6,000 planned in Meri refugee settlement. 450 masks will be used for COVID-19 awareness-raising. Those who made them had previously benefited from tailoring classes with the support of UNHCR.
As the state of emergency was extended for the fifth time until 4 July, Kinshasa’s neighbourhood of Gombe remained on lockdown until 30 June, when it was finally lifted. 14 provinces are now affected by COVID-19, with notable numbers of cases in the eastern provinces of South Kivu (141 cases) and North Kivu (106 cases), which host refugees and internally displaced persons. There are growing fears that COVID-19 may also reach refugeehosting areas of northern DRC through neighbouring Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, where 3,099 cases have been confirmed. On 25 June, the Ebola epidemic was declared over in eastern DRC as no new cases have been reported since 27 April. However since 1 June, 21 new unrelated cases were recorded in another part of the country, in Equateur Province. In early June, there were repeated incursions by the South Sudanese army into refugee-hosting areas in DRC despite border closures, leading refugees and locals to flee.
On 17 and 18 May, some 45,000 persons, according to local DRC authorities, had attempted to flee towards the Ugandan border with the DRC shortly after deadly militia attacks on civilians in Ituri province. While some have been able to return to their area of origin, thousands remained close to the border. On 1 July, Uganda agreed to temporarily open its borders. Approximately 1,500 asylum-seekers entered the country through Guladjo and Mount Zeu crossing points in Zombo district.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).