15 December 2020
On 27 March, roughly a week after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the Central African Republic (CAR), authorities temporarily restricted entry for non-nationals and grounded all flights. President Faustin Archange Touadéra announced additional measures, including the closure of schools, bars, and an obligation to inform health authorities of any suspected coronavirus cases. The Bangui airport reopened in July with new security measures, including health check and self-isolation protocols. As of 14 December, CAR had recorded 4,936 COVID-19 cases and 63 deaths.
In May, the UN allocated $12 million USD from its humanitarian fund to support a multisectoral emergency response in the Central African Republic (CAR). The funds are intended to be used to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including enabling partner organisations to implement priority projects in the health and water-hygiene sanitation sectors, manage internally displaced persons camps, as well as provide shelter, food, and essential household items.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported in May that humanitarian aid had been provided to 294,000 people in April to assist access to health, water, and hygienic materials. According to the UN, more than 2.6 million people in the country, approximately half the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. According to UNHCR, there were 641,292 internally displaced persons as of 31 October 2020. Of these, the UN estimates that more than 467,000 live with host families while the rest live in overcrowded and unsanitary sites.
UNHCR also estimates that as of mid-2020, there were 296,190 refugees from CAR in Cameroon. According to the refugee agency, a voluntary repatriation operation that started in November 2019 was suspended in March 2020 as both countries closed their borders to prevent the spread of the virus. Now that the border closure has been lifted, UNHCR is attempting to facilitate voluntary returns. Improvements of the security situation in Bangui and other regions in CAR have enabled some 15,000 refugees in the North and South Ubangi Provinces to apply for voluntary repatriation. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, health and sanitary measures have been boosted, including the provision of masks, temperature screening, and the installation of hand-washing stations. Also, in order to ensure social distancing, the number of refugees per convoy was reduced to 65 people.
- UNHCR, “First Central African Refugees Return From DRC Since COVID-19 Outbreak,” 16 November 2020, https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2020/11/5fb268744/first-central-african-refugees-return-drc-since-covid-19-outbreak.html
- United Nations News, “RCA: l’ONU Alloue 12 Millions de Dollars Pour Soutenir la Réponse Humanitaire et Lutter Contre le COVID-19,” 6 May 2020, https://news.un.org/fr/story/2020/05/1068212
- United Nations News, “En RCA, Les Humanitaires à l'Épreuve du COVID-19,” 11 May 2020, https://news.un.org/fr/story/2020/05/1068572
- United Nations News, “République Centrafricaine: Plus de 400 Réfugiés Centrafricains Rapatriés de la RDC,” 16 November 2020, https://news.un.org/fr/story/2020/11/1082402
- UNHCR, “Operational Portal: Refugee Situations: Central African Republic,” accessed on 14 December 2020, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/country/caf
- ICRC, “République Centrafricaine: Faire Face à la COVID-19 Dans l’Une des Plus Graves Crises Humanitaires du Monde,” 27 July 2020, https://www.icrc.org/fr/document/republique-centrafricaine-faire-face-la-covid-19-dans-le-cadre-dune-des-plus-graves-crises
- Global Detention Project, “Immigration Detention in the Central African Republic,” https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/africa/central-african-republic#statistics-data
- Africa News, “Coronavirus - République Centrafricaine: Message à la Nation de Son Excellence le Professeur Faustin Archange Touadéra, Président de la République, Chef de l’Etat, à la Suite de la Découverte du Premier Cas d’Infection Locale a Coronavirus (26 Mars 2020),” 27 March 2020, https://fr.africanews.com/2020/03/27/coronavirus-republique-centrafricaine-message-a-la-nation-de-son-excellence-le-professeur-faustin-archange-touadera-president-de-la-republique-chef-de-letat-a-la-suite-de-la-decouverte-du-premier-cas-dinfection-locale-a-coronavirus-26-mars-2020//
- TV5MONDE, “Coronavirus: Quels Pays Ont Rouvert Leurs Frontières?” 5 March 2020, https://afrique.tv5monde.com/information/coronavirus-quels-pays-ont-rouvert-leurs-frontieres
- A Red Cross Volunteer in Bégoua Teaching a Child How To Properly Wash His Hands, (ICRC, "République Centrafricaine: Faire Face à la Covid-19 Dans l'Une des Plus Graves Crises Humanitaires du Monde," 27 July 2020, https://www.icrc.org/fr/document/republique-centrafricaine-faire-face-la-covid-19-dans-le-cadre-dune-des-plus-graves-crises)