Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Update 13, March 24, 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update 13

occupied Palestinian territory, March 24, 2020

Cases recovered:

  • West Bank: 17
  • Gaza: 0

Total samples tested:

  • West Bank: 3945 
  • Gaza: 118 

Cases reported in oPt: 60

  • West Bank: 58
  • Gaza: 2

People in quarantine**: 

  • West Bank: 9900
  • Gaza: 2787
WHO Risk Assessment:
  • oPt: Very High
  • Regional: Very High
  • Global Level: Very High

*Information above from Ministry of Health on March 24 at 12:00 (GMT + 2)

**at home and designated quarantine facilities

Situation in occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt):
  • On 24 March 2020, the Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed 1 new case of
    COVID-19 to WHO in the West Bank
  • All new cases, except one are asymptomatic and one case has mild symptoms. All new cases under medical observation at designated health facilities. Contact tracing initiated for all cases
  • The total cases in all occupied Palestinian territory are now 60, including 58 cases in West Bank (one of them a health worker) and 2 cases in Gaza (see Graph 1 for geographical locations of confirmed cases and Graph 2 for cases per day and Graph 3 for cumulative confirmed cases). MOH has reported a total of 17 cases have been discharged and recovered
  • In the West Bank, the MoH have placed more than 9900 people coming from abroad under the quarantine – both at home and at designated facilities
  • In Gaza, those coming from crossings at Rafah or Erez have been quarantined since March 15 and 1,420 people are in quarantine either at Rafah border quarantine or at health facilities or schools and hotels designated as quarantine facilities, and 1,367 people are in home quarantine
  • Work at outpatient clinics, non-emergency surgeries, and visits to inpatients at public hospitals have all been suspended. Other precautionary measures included closing the weekly open markets in all governorates of the Gaza Strip, and restricting social gatherings like weddings and funerals
  • WHO’s Head of Office for the oPt Dr Gerald Rockenschaub visited the Gaza Strip on a two day mission from March 22 to support health authorities in the COVID-19 response. See images below
  • Dr Rockenschaub met with local health authorities on Sunday March 22 and the team delivered further lab testing supplies and personal protective equipment; toured quarantine and health facilities including at Rafah and disseminated COVID-19 public health information posters for the COVID-19 response. WHOs Gaza sub-office supported the visit
  • Dr Rockenschaub said that substantial capacity gaps still need to be addressed. While containment remains the immediate priority, with a focus on early detection, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine, there is a small window to scale up collective efforts to strengthen the local system: further lab testing materials, protective equipment and essential medical supplies and equipment are needed urgently to detect, diagnose and treat potential further cases
  • The UN Humanitarian Coordinator has released 1 Million USD from the humanitarian pooled fund to address immediate priority needs and WHO and partners are working with the donor community to mobilize further resources to support the government’s efforts and to address identified priority COVID-19 response actions to support containment and to address immediate health system gaps
  • The humanitarian clusters under the leadership of Humanitarian Coordinator and with support from WHO are working on the update of the inter-agency multi-sectoral COVID-19 response plan. The plan outlines immediate priority COVID-19 response actions developed by partners to support containment and to address immediate system gaps in health, education and other social sectors
  • WHO urges the public to obtain the latest information on COVID-19 from key sources such as MoH (dashboard) and WHO (see TwitterFacebook and oPt website), and follow and promote the recommended basic preventive and protective measures.

*Information provided by Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health on March 24 at 12:00 (GMT + 2)

WHO visits quarantine and health facilities in Gaza

WHO inspecting intensive care unit beds at Rafah Crossing Field Hospital

Rafah Crossing Field Hospital also hosts these facilities for moderate cases

WHO delivered lab testing kits and personal protective equipment to local health authorities

The quarantine area near Rafah Crossing Field Hospital includes 50 rooms for quarantined travelers

Response in oPt:

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

WHO coordinated the preparation of an inter-agency COVID-19 response plan for the oPt with a list of priority actions for the next three months. The plan asks for an initial $6.5 million to cover the immediate needs to contain the outbreak.

WHO delivered lab testing kits, personal protective equipment to support the response to COVID-19.

The MOH have implemented effective measures to ensure early detection and case management of any suspected COVID-19 case and so far have ensured that:

  • In the West Bank, quarantine and treatment facilities and emergency committees are being established in key governorates
  • the Ministry of Health has developed a new COVID-19 dashboard (in Arabic) to track cases:
  • A central operations room has been established at Prime Minister’s office to coordinate activities, including contacts with media
  • laboratory capacities of the MoH in Ramallah have been scaled up
  • Point of entry checks for incoming travelers are being conducted and isolation wards in health facilities have been established
  • health workers are equipped and trained in the appropriate infection prevention and control measures and case management of potential COVID-19 case across the oPt
  • the general public continues to be regularly updated, including advice on how to protect themselves
  • preparedness is also progressing in Gaza but there are substantial capacity gaps to be addressed.

The response is ongoing in the Gaza Strip.

WHO toured quarantine and health facilities in Gaza on March 22 to further support health authorities preparedness for COVID-19 as detailed above and delivered lab testing kits, personal protective equipment to support the response to COVID-19.

The national COVID-19 committee met to discuss further measures and has supported:

  • the establishment of a Field Hospital at the Rafah Crossing featuring a 38-bed treatment facility with 6 intensive care unit beds and 30 for moderate cases. The quarantine area includes 50 rooms for quarantined travelers
  • Gaza European Hospital to be designated to absorb and treat additional cases once the capacity of the field hospital would get exhausted
  • the establishment of a medical check point at Erez Crossing.

Substantial capacity gaps still need to be addressed including the procurement of essential medical supplies and equipment (including lab testing kits).

WHO disseminated 100,000 COVID-19 public health information posters and brochures for the response

Health information and advice will be disseminate to local health authorities and other ministries

Situation in Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO):

  • Click on the EMRO dashboard on the right for the latest updates on cases in countries in our neighbourhood
  • Israel has 1,071 cases confirmed (as of 23 March 2020, 18:00 CET)


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