Urban populations in East Africa are highly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly 35 million people, or 58% of the urban populations living in informal settlements who are at high risk from its impact.
Livelihoods and incomes of these urban populations are seriously affected, particularly the urban poor who depend on the informal sector, with serious consequences for their food security and nutrition.
The number of food insecure people in East Africa is estimated to increase this year to more than 41 million people as a result of COVID-19, including 14 million who are estimated to live in urban areas.
COVID-19, a global pandemic, has resulted in more than 18 million cases globally and contributed to 690,000 deaths as of 2 August. The highest burdens are in the United States (4.8 million cases and 158,000 deaths), Brazil (2.7 million cases, 94,000 deaths), and India (1.8 million cases, 38,000 deaths) (Johns Hopkins, 2020).
The epicentre of the pandemic has moved from China to Europe and North America, and now towards the global south, in particular South America and South Asia, and lower income countries are increasingly seeing many cases (Mahler & Wadhwa, 2020). Though countries in Asia, Europe and Oceania had gained control of the spread and slowly started opening up societies, many countries have started to experience a new wave of increasing cases, causing some countries and cities to implement partial lockdowns again (WHO, 2020).
EAST AFRICA OVERVIEW
At 53,000 confirmed cases and 821 deaths as of 1 August, the region is at a relatively modest level compared to other regions in the world, though the number of new cases is increasing more rapidly than before. Globally, the fatality rate is estimated at between 0.6% and 3.5%, but until now it seems to be at the lower end in East Africa (Kissler et al., 2020).