World Health organization oPt

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 51

occupied Palestinian territory, issued 5 November 2020
Information for period: 5 March – 5 November 2020


  • Health Authorities in the Gaza Strip are reporting continued shortages of laboratory supplies for COVID-19 testing
  • WHO secured a further US $2.6 million to support the COVID-19 response
  • Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened from 2 to 5 November

This week, two courses helping to build health workers’ skills and knowledge to support the response to COVID-19 continued. The first series of Basic Life Support (BLS) training for the southern region of the West Bank was completed by the Palestinian National Institute of Public Health / WHO in collaboration with the MoH Emergency and Disaster Unit. A total of 173 doctors, nurses, and emergency medical teams working in MoH and private emergency units were trained. A further 50 doctors and nurses attended the BASIC (Basic Assessment and Support in Intensive Care) course, conducted in partnership with Juzoor for Health and Social Development and Augusta Victoria Hospital. Training for both courses will continue until the end of the year.​ ​

WHO preparedness, readiness and response

WHO is continuing to work with partners to support Ministry of Health’s (MoH) efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

 Coordination, planning and monitoring ​

  • WHO has received $1.9 million in funding from the oPt Humanitarian Fund to be used to procure and deliver essential laboratory supplies and equipment to scale up testing in the West Bank and Gaza for 70,000 people; to support case management and infection prevention and control training for 100 health workers; to support risk communications outreach and the temporary coordination mechanism to support Palestinian patients and companions required by Israel to apply for permits to access essential health services outside the Gaza Strip
  • WHO received a further $814,000 from WHO headquarters to mobilize lab and testing supplies for Gaza.


  • The WHO risk assessment remains very high
  • From 1- 31 October, the total number of COVID-19 cases rose by 14,721 cases (on average 474 cases per day); and 187 deaths (6 per day) for the same period
  • The Gaza Strip continues to account for most of the active cases (36 %) in the oPt, followed by Nablus in the West Bank (16%), and by Bethlehem (11.5%), Hebron (7%), Tulkarm (3.7%), with a significant drop in East Jerusalem (3%)
  • Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened for four days, from 2 to 5 November. As of 4 November, 758 Palestinians crossed into Gaza, and 2,270 people exited to Egypt. Returnees were asked to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate (not older than 48 hours), while those who could not obtain a certificate were tested upon arrival at the crossing point.

Laboratory diagnostics  ​

  • A total of 548,307 laboratory samples have been tested for COVID-19 according to MoH.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), Isolation and Case Management, Operations Support and Logistics 

  • 12,979 Palestinians are in quarantine (home or facility-based) to prevent further spread of the disease
  • Capacity building activities continue, targeting health workers in the Gaza Strip. A fourth group of 15 junior doctors have started training for intensive care management of COVID-19 patients, funded by the Government of Canada; the sixth group of 18 maternal and child health workers have also completed infection prevention training, conducted by the Palestinian National Institute of Public Health / WHO
  • WHO has delivered 10,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items, which will be used bymedical and non-medical staff working at Gaza’s five main emergency departments, including the European Gaza Hospital (Gaza’s designated COVID-19 facility) and at the Respiratory Triage Centres (RTCs) – tent facilities used to screen patients for COVID-19 before they enter the hospital, to prevent transmission of COVID-19 into hospital facilities
  • WHO has also delivered eight bedside kits to five emergency departments. These kits will strengthen preparedness at the emergency departments and will be used to treat severe injuries in any future emergency or disaster.

East Jerusalem

  • As of November 4, 20 COVID-19 patients are being treated in the two main dedicated COVID-19 hospitals of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. Of these 14 are at St Joseph Hospital and 6 are at Al- Makassed Hospital. In addition, four COVID-19 patients are being treated at Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), including two patient companions. A further five health workers at Al-Makassed and three at AVH have COVID-19 infections, while two from St. Joseph remain in quarantine.

Sustaining Essential Health Services: WHO Trauma Program

  • WHO is still holding weekly online distance-training sessions in Gaza run by NYCMedics (New York City Medics), a disaster relief organisation that deploys mobile medical teams worldwide. Nearly 150 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel have started their third week of a six-week training course. The course is an interactive refresher training program designed to improve and update knowledge and skills
  • Two leading international orthopaedic and anaesthesia experts are giving weekly live consultation lessons to Limb Reconstruction Centre physicians and orthopaedic surgical residents. Ministry of Health staff join the sessions, holding discussions and examining case studies dealing with infections and pain management to receive new and up-to-date information about medications and medical practices.

Risk Communications and Community Engagement  ​

To receive RCCE materials on a fortnightly basis contact: 

COVID-19 and diabetes  
Videos (pictured) have been created for World Diabetes Day on November 14 to promote awareness that diabetics are at higher risks of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, given the prevalence of diabetes in Palestine. The videos feature as part of the national COVID-19 Risk Communications and Community Engagement (RCCE) campaign which releases new health materials for outreach on a fortnightly basis, supported by WHO, UNICEF, the MoH and partners. The latest products also focus on health tips for entering Winter including how to keep healthy and the difference between COVID-19 and the flu.


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