World Health organization oPt

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 76

Issued 3 June 2021

Highlights

  • Two weeks after escalations subside across the occupied Palestinian territory, COVID-19 case numbers in Gaza shoot up, largely due to the resumption in testing which had completely ceased
  • West Bank numbers continue to decline finally giving hospitals some breathing space
  • More vaccines arrive in oPt: in the last week, 72,000 doses of AstraZeneca and nearly 103,000 doses of Pfizer.

COVAX delivers again! 

The global COVAX facility headed by WHO and partners Gavi, CEPI and UNICEF delivered yet more vaccines to oPt this week: 72,000 AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Ben Gurion airport late on Tuesday 1 June 2021, and the following day 62,400 doses found their way to the Nablus cold store in West Bank, while 9,600 doses have since been delivered to Gaza. More will go to Gaza from the West Bank shipment soon.

This batch follows the delivery of 102,960 doses of Pfizer vaccines the previous week.

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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 state of emergency over COVID-19 decreed by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank has been extended for a further 30 days, starting from Wednesday 2 June
  • Also on 2 June, WHO, along with MoH, co-chaired a meeting of the Health sub-Cluster in Gaza Strip, to update partners on the health situation and new emerging needs, including those related to COVID-19 emergency, following the recent military escalation.

Surveillance

  • The WHO risk assessment remains high: COVID-19 infections in the Gaza Strip have jumped higher in the wake of the recent escalations and as testing resumes; active new cases now account for a significant majority of all cases in the oPt, at 84%
  • In the West Bank, cases have halved from the previous week, while testing has increased with positivity staying low for a second week at around 5%
  • The breakdown of active COVID-19 cases across the oPt is as follows: Gaza Strip (84.4%), followed by the West Bank governorates of Nablus (4.6%), Jenin (3.2%), Ramallah (2%), Tulkarm and Hebron both (1.5%), Bethlehem (0.8%) and Qalqilya, Tubas and Jericho all (0.4%)
  • The overall Case Fatality Rate (CFR) across oPt remains at 1.1 %. The CFR is the proportion of deathsly among identified confirmed cases.

Laboratory testing and diagnostics

  • The number of tests conducted in the oPt has decreased by 3% during the reporting period (28 May – 3 June), with 17,175 tests conducted
  • Since the beginning of the military hostilities in the Gaza Strip, COVID-19 testing has been limited to symptomatic people reporting to hospitals. An average of 1,148 tests per day have been conducted over the past week (28 May – 3 June) with a positivity rate of 25%
  • WHO has assigned simple, easy to say and remember labels for key variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, using letters of the Greek alphabet. See the new labels here: https://www.who.int/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants

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

  • The overall occupancy rate of COVID-19 dedicated hospital beds in the Gaza Strip is 24%, with 106 of 441 beds occupied. Currently, 14 of the 41 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds (34%) are occupied. No patients are on mechanical ventilation
  • The medical response situation in the West Bank has improved significantly: ICU bed occupancy is sharply lower at 26% (23 ICU beds out of 90 occupied) – and just three patients are now on ventilators compared to 40 three weeks ago.

Risk Communications and Community Engagement

Health Promoters in Gaza educate worshippers in mosques about vaccination

WHO is working in collaboration with local health authorities in Gaza to raise the awareness of worshippers and their families about the importance of getting vaccinated.

Ten health promoters working across the five Gaza governorates received refresher training sessions on facts, statistics and scientific-based data about COVID-19 and vaccines in general, before attending mosques and disseminating health awareness messages.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Latest Vaccine Arrivals

  • On 2 June, COVAX delivered 72,000 AstraZeneca vaccines, of which 62,400 doses went to the Nablus cold store in West Bank, and 9,600 doses to Gaza. More doses are due to arrive in Gaza from the West Bank shipment in time.
  • One week previously, on 25 May, the third COVAX shipment arrived in oPt: 102,960 doses of Pfizer vaccines, of which 56,160 doses went to West Bank and 46,800 doses to Gaza
  • 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines previously allocated for Gaza finally got clearance to cross into the Strip on 21 May 2021
  • And another 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines also arrived in Gaza donated from Jordan

Numbers of Vaccinated (as of 2 June 2021)

  • 344,260 people have been vaccinated in total across the oPt: 304,323 in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), and 39,937 in Gaza. These figures represent around 7% of the total Palestinian population
  • Of these numbers, the total who have received their second dose are 228,083 in the oPt overall (excluding East Jerusalem)
  • The circa 110,000 Palestinian workers who have been vaccinated by Israel are included in the total numbers of vaccinated stated above
  • Health authorities in the Gaza Strip have expanded vaccination capacity by increasing the number of vaccination centers to a total of 25 centers, including nine operated by UNRWA, and 16 by MoH.

Global Vaccine News

  • On 1 June, WHO approved China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, the second Chinese vaccine to receive the WHO’s green light. ‘ConoraVac’ is a two-dose vaccine already being developed in several countries around the world (Read more)

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