As of 12 October 2020, there have been 796,080 reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 16 countries covered by UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Southern Africa. While case numbers continue to increase, the rate has slowed as compared to recent weeks, with a three per cent decrease in total active cases. Governments of some countries in the region continue to ease restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as lifting lockdowns and movement restrictions opening of international borders, and reopening schools, shops, and other businesses. In most cases, basic prevention measures, such as mask wearing, screening and hand sanitizing in public spaces remain in place.
Throughout the pandemic, UNHCR and partners have committed to a ‘stay and deliver’ approach, continuing to provide critical protection services and assistance. Programmes have been adapted to observe social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation measures, health protocols are in place at registration and distribution points, hotlines and community protection structures are utilized to report protection issues and assistance needs. UNHCR has focused heavily on risk communication and outreach efforts to spread information about COVID-19 prevention and services. Health systems strengthening has also been a priority, by equipping health centres and training health workers, and establishing isolation and quarantine centres to reduce the risk of transmission, particularly in camps.
Additional handwashing facilities have been installed and additional soap has been distributed to promote good hygiene practices and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. UNHCR has also been providing cash