At Signpost International we continue to work and communicate with all of our communities throughout the world and once again we want to update you, our Global Neighbours, with the current situation in the countries and communities we work in.
At the time of publishing (1:30pm on Thursday 16th April 2020) this is the current situation in the countries we work in.
There are now 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Uganda and no confirmed cases in the communities we work in.
On Tuesday President Museveni announced that he was extending the initial 14-day lockdown by an extra three weeks, until 5th May, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus. This means movement remains virtually frozen with bans on both private and public transport vehicles while a dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed.
With the number of confirmed cases increasing there is growing alarm over the virus taking hold among Uganda’s large refugee population where physical distancing is nearly impossible. Uganda hosts more than 1.4 million refugees, the third most in the world. Restrictions on movement and economic activity, which have been put in place to try and stop the spread of the virus mean that families are extremely reliant on food rations for basic survival. This hard situation has been made even more challenging as due to insufficient funds for its programmes in East and Central Africa, the World Food Programme has announced a 30% reduction to the food rations it distributes to refugees.
There have now been 88 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tanzania and 4 confirmed deaths, with no confirmed cases in the communities we work in.
Social gatherings and schools are still suspended but places of worship remain open. Like in Uganda fears are rising for refugees living in camps in the country with hundreds of thousands of people living in refugee camps in Tanzania. As social distancing is virtually impossible in the camps it means those living there will be very vulnerable to the virus.
There are now 5,660 confirmed cases of the virus with a death toll of 362 in the Philippines. There have been no confirmed cases in the neighbourhood of West Habog Habog where we work.
The strategy of the government to curb the spread of the virus is community quarantine and increased testing. The lockdown that they have implemented remains in place and this week they announced that they are going to continue to increase testing with many cities beginning to test suspected cases in their communities. Nationwide there are 15 laboratories that can conduct COVID-19 tests while health authorities expect the accreditation of 15 other facilities.
Tomorrow we will be launching our help build community resilience appeal. The appeal will display how we are supporting communities throughout the world to help stem the spread of COVID-19 and how you can help. But please do continue to pray for all of the Countries and communities we work in throughout the world.