Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Situation Report 62

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 62

Issued 4 February 2021


  • The Palestinian Authority begins its COVID-19 vaccination campaign
  • The PA MoH announced the arrival of 10 thousand doses of COVID-19 Sputnik V vaccine
  • The COVAX Facility confirmed that initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines through a first wave allocation would arrive to Palestine by mid-February
  • The oPt continued to witness a stable and declining trend in numbers of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases.

This week, WHO delivered additional 20 COVID-19 extraction kits to the local health authorities in the Gaza Strip to provide 40,000 COVID-19 tests, in addition to 10 kits that were delivered last week. Thanks to the support of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. 

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​

  • The Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas extended the state of emergency on February 1 for 30 more days to combat the spread of COVID-19
  • Public health restrictions in the West Bank, including movement restrictions in and between governorates and on weekends, continue until 14 February
  • In the Gaza Strip, on 4 February the local authorities announced that the movement restrictions and curfew have been gradually lifted. However, open markets are still ordered to be closed during the weekend, and wedding halls are to remain closed at all times
  • Rafah crossing opened exceptionally for four days from 1-4 February. During the first three days, 3,008 people exited to Egypt, and 1,674 Palestinians entered Gaza. Returnees were requested to self-quarantine for 7 days.


  • The WHO risk assessment remains very high
  • This week, the number of new COVID-19 cases continued to decrease, with a 1% drop in newly recorded cases and an 8% drop in deaths for the reporting period
  • The overall Case Fatality Rate (CFR) remains at 1.1 %. The CFR is the proportion of deaths among identified confirmed cases
  • Gaza now accounts for 47.5% of all active cases in oPt, followed by the West Bank governorates of Ramallah (11.7%), East Jerusalem (9.3%), Nablus (9.2%), Bethlehem (3.9%), Hebron (3.7%), Tulkarm (3.4 %) and Jenin (2.2%)

Laboratory testing and diagnostics  ​

This week, WHO delivered COVID-19 rapid PCR kits that are enough to conduct 2,120 tests to the local health authorities in the Gaza Strip, which will contribute to the efforts to keep controlling the spread of the virus within the community.
Thanks to the Government of Kuwait.

  • The number of tests conducted in the oPt has decreased by 2% during the reporting period (28 January – 4 February), with 27,317 tests conducted compared to the previous week
  • In the Gaza Strip, an average of 2,076 tests per day have been conducted in the past week (29 January – 4 February) with a positivity rate of 8.4%. In the Gaza Strip, health authorities reported enough COVID-19 tests (PCR) for 87 days, until 29 April (as of 4 February)
  • During the reporting period, WHO delivered 20 COVID-19 extraction kits to the local health authorities in the Gaza Strip to provide 40,000 COVID-19 tests, thanks to the Government of the Republic of Croatia. WHO also delivered a further COVID-19 rapid PCR kits to conduct 2,120 tests, supported by the Government of Kuwait (pictured).

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

PHOTO ESSAY: “I was afraid for my children,” Mona Abu Omar, 40, recalls of the first days of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Gaza Strip. “They said, ‘Don’t be afraid to hug us, Mama, we know that you are taking all precautions.’” In late August, Muna was sent with a day’s notice to staff a tent triage center in front of the local hospital. Every day she saw dozens of people believed to be infected with the deadly virus. The mother of five worked eight-hour shifts, returning to the triage center after lunch to make sure the second shift was ready to go. There are countless reasons for Muna and her family to be concerned about COVID-19 and its spread among the Gaza Strip’s two million residents. Read full story.  

  • As of 4 February, the overall occupancy rate of COVID-19 dedicated hospital beds in the Gaza Strip is 14%, with 78 of 540 beds occupied. Currently, 3 of the 90 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds (3%) are occupied, with one patient requiring invasive mechanical ventilation.

East Jerusalem 

  • As of February 3, there is a total of 51 COVID-19 patients in the three designated COVID-19 hospitals in East Jerusalem. The highest number of patients is in St-Joseph hospital (39) in addition to eight patients in Al-Makassed Hospital and 4 in Augusta Victoria Hospital. None of the hospitals reported COVID-19 cases among their staff and none of the staff are in quarantine.

COVID-19 Vaccine  

  • The Palestinian Authority’s MoH launched its vaccination campaign on 2 February with 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine prioritised for health workers in intensive care units. In a statement, Minister of Health, Dr Mai Al-Kaila, said the PA had purchased additional AstraZeneca vaccines directly with the pharmaceutical company
  • The PA MoH announced the arrival of 10 thousand doses of COVID-19 Sputnik V vaccine
  • Dr Al-Kaila said vaccinations would also be made available to the Gaza Strip and the vaccine campaign would continue until 3.2 million people get vaccinated, supported by 730 medical teams distributed at MoH centres around the oPt over coming months. The elderly (aged over 60 years old) and those with chronic diseases would be prioritised next following health workers
  • The PA Ministry of Health with support of partners finalised the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) that outlines the prioritisation of target groups, readiness of the health system and preparedness actions to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine, including quantities mobilized through the COVAX AMC Facility. The NDVP was endorsed and uploaded to the WHO COVID-19 partners’ platform
  • The global COVAX AMC Facility, working in partnership with WHO and UNICEF, confirmed on January 30, the oPt has also been approved to receive the following vaccine batches in coming weeks:
  • 37,440 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for potential distribution from mid-February for frontline health workers, subject to approvals of supply agreements with manufacturers. This is the first wave of distribution of Pfizer vaccines under the COVAX Facility
  • Between 240,000 – 405,600 doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine for potential distribution from mid to late February, subject to receiving WHO’s Emergency Use Listing approval and other relevant approvals.

More local information


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