World Health organization oPt

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 70

Issued 1 April 2021

Highlights

  • More COVID-19 vaccines arrive in oPt from China, India and Qatar, bolstering recent supplies arriving through the global COVAX mechanism
  • Infections across the Gaza Strip are showing a worrisome upward spike, doubling over the last week
  • The West Bank is seeing a decline in cases but numbers are still high and many hospitals struggling at full capacity.

ICU Training of Trainers  

Video: https://youtu.be/dU1XNSHll5g   

WHO’s recent Training of Trainers for Nurses in the Gaza Strip moves on to the next stage. The ten trained nurse instructors are now conducting the training of 200 nurses from various public hospitals in the Gaza Strip.

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 West Bank lockdown announced on 20 March continues until 3 April, with the following amendments:
  • Restaurants, shops, cafes, businesses, companies and ministries can now operate at 30% capacity
  • Pharmacies and bakeries can continue to operate
  • No movement between governorates including the city of Jerusalem, except for medical personnel, essential goods and food
  • Governors will decide the exceptions for the opening of any sectors
  • Fines will be issued for breaches of safety measures
  • In the Gaza Strip, the following restriction measures are also in place in light of the spike in COVID-19 cases:
  • Night curfew (21:00 – 07:00) imposed as of Saturday 27 March, 2021
  • Weddings and funerals in streets are banned. A maximum of 100 people allowed in wedding halls, with strict public health measures in place
  • All forms of gatherings in parks and open areas banned
  • Decisive public health measures and strict adherence to hygiene protocols + physical distancing continue to be essential to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Surveillance

  • The WHO risk assessment remains very high: despite slowly declining numbers of new COVID-19 cases in the West Bank, many hospitals remain at full capacity,  with ICU bed occupancy at 100%, and 68 patients on ventilators
  • In the Gaza Strip ICU bed occupancy is at 38% (34 out of 90 beds), with ten people on ventilators. The sudden jump in new COVID-19 infections is presenting a worrying forecast for the health sector and its ability to cope in the near future
  • The Gaza Strip accounts for the highest of all active cases in oPt (34.3%), followed by the West Bank governorates of Nablus (21%), Hebron (8.8%), Jenin (7.8%),  Tulkarm (7.2%), Ramallah (5.8%), Bethlehem (4.1%) and Qalqilya (3.2%)
  • 83,822 people have been vaccinated in total across the oPt as of 1 April: 60,029 in the West Bank, and 23,793 in Gaza
  • Israel has also vaccinated around 120,000 Palestinian workers who are now due their second doses
  • The overall Case Fatality Rate (CFR) across oPt remains at 1.1 %. The CFR is the proportion of deaths among identified confirmed cases
  • On 30 March, health authorities in Gaza confirmed the first cases detected with the new variant B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK. This variant is known to have been driving recent cases in the West Bank as well.

WHO Delivers Much Needed PPE Supplies to Gaza Strip 

WHO delivered 27,500 pairs of gloves as part of its dedicated procurement of needed disinfectants & PPE supplies for the Mental Health Hospital and six community mental health centres in the Gaza Strip.

COVID-19 Vaccine Landscape  

  • On 29 March, 100,000 Sinopharm vaccines arrived in the West Bank as a donation from China
  • On 30 March a further 25,000 AstraZeneca vaccines were also delivered to the oPt from the Serum Institute of India, the first batch of purchased vaccines out of a total of 2 million
  • Also on 30 March, 14,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines were donated to oPt by Qatar, for the vaccination of 7,000 Palestinian workers crossing from Gaza into WB and IL.

COVAX Updates

  • An additional 102,960 doses of Pfizer vaccines have been allocated to the oPt through the COVAX mechanism, with expected delivery date end of Q2 (up to eight weeks after signing the PO)
  • A further 144,000 doses of AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines are due to arrive through COVAX in batches at the end of April, bringing the total number of AZ vaccines arriving in oPt to 168,000
  • COVAX deliveries already in place (see table below).

Previous shipments

  • 40,000 doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Gaza on 11 March, from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), bringing to 60,000 the total number of donated Sputnik V vaccines from the UAE
  • A further 10,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines were also previously donated by Russia, and 2,000 doses of Moderna vaccines by Israel.

COVAX Vaccines Breakdown (AstraZeneca / Pfizer – West Bank / Gaza Strip)

The first COVAX arrivals in oPt on 16 and 17 March included:  

  • 61,440 vaccine doses in total, of which 24,000 were AstraZeneca, and 37,440 were Pfizer
  • A total of 40,140 doses went to cold storage units in West Bank, and 21,300 doses in total to Gaza
  • AstraZeneca: 14,400 doses to WB; 9,600 to Gaza 
  • Pfizer: 25,740 doses to WB; 11,700 to Gaza.

Laboratory testing and diagnostics  ​

  • The number of tests conducted in the oPt has decreased by 12% during the reporting period (26 March – 1 April), with 59,974 tests conducted
  • In the Gaza Strip, an average of 3,282 tests per day have been conducted over the past week (26 March – 1 April) with a positivity rate of 25%
  • WHO delivered to the health authorities in the Gaza Strip, 26,400 COVID-19 RNA extraction tests that are essential to maintain the COVID-19 testing capacity.

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

  • As of 1 April, the overall occupancy rate of COVID-19 dedicated hospital beds in the Gaza Strip is 38%, with 203 of 540 beds occupied. Currently, 34 of the 90 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds (38%) are occupied, with ten requiring invasive mechanical ventilation
  • The COVID-19 designated hospitals in the West Bank are near their full capacity, with 97% occupancy of hospital beds and 100% occupancy in ICUs. Ventilator usage is at 47%.

More local information

Situation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and Globally 

Latest WHO advice and health information:

For updated WHO Publications and Technical Guidance on COVID-19, click here 

Further information:

Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, WHO oPt Head of Office, peeperkornr@who.int
Dr. Ayadil Saparbekov, WHO oPt Health Emergencies Team Lead, asaparbekov@who.int
Nicola Baldwin, WHO oPt External Relations and Communications Officer, baldwinn@who.int