(COVID-19) Situation Report 60

Issued 21 January 2021

Highlights

  • The oPt continued to witness a significant decrease in the numbers of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases during the reporting period
  • On 18 January 2021, in his opening remarks to the 148th Session of the WHO Executive Board, the WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus praised the global success in fast-tracking the development of vaccines against COVID-19 and urgently called for all Member States to work together as one global family to prioritize those most at risk of severe diseases and death, in all countries. For more information on WHO Executive Board, please visit: https://www.who.int/about/governance/executive-board/executive-board-148th-session
  • The Ministry of Health works very closely with its partners at WHO and UNICEF in finalising the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for introduction of COVID-19 vaccine in the oPt.

WHO delivered 40 examination tables to the local health authorities in the Gaza Strip. These beds will support the case management inside the five COVID-19 Respiratory Triage Centres (RTCs) that were set up in key hospitals in Gaza. Thanks to the generous support of UK Aid. 

WHO preparedness, readiness and response

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

Coordination, planning and monitoring​

  • Public health restrictions, including movement restrictions in and between governorates and on weekends, continue in the West Bank until 1 February  to contain the COVID-19 spread

Surveillance

  • The WHO risk assessment remains very high
  • This week, the oPt witnessed a further significant decrease in newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a 30% drop to 4,082 newly confirmed cases and a 22% drop in deaths to 104 for the reporting period
  • The overall Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is at 1.1 %. The CFR is the proportion of deaths among identified confirmed cases
  • Gaza now accounts for 54% of all active cases in oPt, followed by the West Bank governorates of East Jerusalem (8.8%), Nablus (8 %), Ramallah (6.9%), Tulkarm (4%), Hebron (3.6%), Jenin (2.9%) and Bethlehem (2.7%).

Laboratory testing and diagnostics  ​

WHO delivered additional 400 COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits on January 12 as part of its ongoing support to the local health authorities in the Gaza Strip to upscale the testing and detecting of COVID-19 within the community. Thanks to the generous support of oPt Humanitarian Fund. 

  • The number of tests conducted in the oPt has decreased by 6% during the reporting period (15 – 21 January), with 26,376 tests conducted compared to the previous week
  • In the Gaza Strip, an average of 1,850 tests per day have been conducted in the past week (15 – 21 January) with a positivity rate of 16%. On 21 January, health authorities reported enough COVID-19 tests for 20 days until 10 February.

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

60 syringe pumps were delivered on January 14 to the local health authorities in the Gaza Strip to support the management of moderate and severe cases in the COVID-19 designated health facilities. This delivery was made possible thanks to the support of the Government of Kuwait. 

  • As of 21 January, the overall occupancy rate of dedicated COVID-19 hospital beds in the Gaza Strip is 24%, with 129 of 540 beds occupied.  Currently, 16 of the 90 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds (18%) are occupied, including four patients requiring invasive mechanical ventilation.

COVID-19 Vaccine  

  • The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health responded to the call from the COVAX Facility and submitted an expression of interest to be considered for a potential small scale ‘first wave’ deployment of Pfizer vaccines. The COVAX facility will assess the readiness status of the countries and will notify them on the decision by the end of January. Should the oPt be selected for this “first wave” allocation of Pfizer vaccines through COVAX, it is estimated to cover up to 0.25% of the population, prioritising frontline health workers across the West Bank and Gaza
  • The Palestinian Authority MoH, with support from partners, is finalising preparations to be ready to receive first vaccine batches through the global Gavi COVAX AMC Facility, including the development of the COVID-19 National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) to outline costed strategies for the implementation and monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign across the oPt
  • In parallel, the PA is in direct negotiations with pharmaceutical companies and other countries to secure additional vaccine quantities.

East Jerusalem

  • As of 20 January 2021, 67 COVID-19 patients from East Jerusalem were hospitalised. Of them, 40 patients are treated in the following EJHN hospitals: 31 at St Joseph hospital (including 10 in ICU) and 9 are at Al-Makassed hospital (including 3 in ICU)
  • Since 1 January 2021, 38 death were reported among East Jerusalem patients,  which represents 21% of the total deaths from COVID –19 among East Jerusalem residents since the beginning of the outbreak in March 2020.

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