Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Situation Report 81

World Health organization oPt

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 81

Issued 23 September 2021


  • New COVID-19 infections appear to be slowing down across the oPt, although numbers are still rising in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with over two thirds of cases remaining in Gaza
  • Positivity in the oPt is still significantly high at 21%, making a true analysis of case numbers difficult – testing needs to be substantially increased overall.

Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2022

HRP Workshops for 2022: The Health Cluster, led by WHO, conducted two workshops in Gaza and in West Bank on 19 and 23 September respectively. These determined the strategic activities required to respond to the assessed needs of vulnerable populations identified in the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). The workshops fall under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) – a key step in the humanitarian program cycle. “Humanitarian response planning workshops bring together partners to discuss and propose interventions based on the identified humanitarian needs that will guide monitoring of targets during implementation of programs,” said Chipo Takawira, the Health Cluster Coordinator.

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 continues in place
  • Also in the West Bank, social gatherings, including at funerals and weddings, are currently banned
  • Local authorities in the Gaza Strip have resumed the vaccination campaign targeting employees of the public sector and high school students above 16 years old.


  • The WHO risk assessment remains high, with 30,994 active COVID-19 cases across the oPt, while infections in the Gaza Strip account for the majority of all cases, at just over 67%
  • In the West Bank, numbers of cases are slowing down, and are now at 10,198. Testing has increased in the past two weeks allowing for a fall in positivity to 12.7% from 22% a fortnight ago
  • The breakdown of active COVID-19 cases across the oPt is as follows: Gaza Strip (67.1%), followed by the West Bank governorates of Nablus (8.5%), Tulkarm (6.3%), Ramallah (4.5%), Jenin (3.7%), Qalqilya (2.8%), Salfit (1.7%), Hebron (1.1%), and Tubas (0.6%)
  • The overall Case Fatality Rate (CFR) across oPt remains at 1%. The CFR is the proportion of deaths among identified confirmed cases.

Laboratory testing and diagnostics

  • The number of tests conducted in the oPt is largely unchanged during the reporting period (15 – 21 September), with 64,097 tests conducted, and an overall positivity of 21%
  • Over the past two weeks, an average of 3,965 COVID-19 tests per day were conducted in the Gaza Strip. However, positivity remains considerably high at an average of 33%.

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

  • In light of the increased number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization, Gaza health authorities expanded the number of beds allocated for COVID-19 management to 555, including 90 intensive care units (ICU). The overall COVID-19 bed occupancy remains high at 74%, with 410 beds occupied
  • The number of cases admitted to ICU also continues to increase in the Gaza Strip, with 54 patients occupying a total capacity of 90 beds (60%), including 13 on mechanical ventilators
  • In the West Bank, hospitals continue to respond to the COVID-19 situation accordingly: ICU bed occupancy is lower at 72% (down from 86% a week ago) with 73 ICU beds occupied out of 101, and 15 patients on ventilators (up from 13 two weeks ago).

Scaling up Gaza Health System’s Capacity to Respond to COVID-19

Scaling up Capacity in Gaza to Prevent, early-Detect and Respond to COVID-19

As part of WHO’s commitment to procure and deliver sufficient laboratory testing supplies to Gaza Public Health authorities, 10,000 COVID-19 rapid detection tests (RDTs) were delivered on 9 September 2021. These form part of a package of supplies that will total more than 120,000 RDTs in all, and will also include 60,000 swabs, 3,456 PCR mutation detection kits, and other essential lab reagents and COVID-19 medical supplies.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Latest Vaccine Arrivals

  • On Thursday 9 September, 150,000 vaccines were delivered to Gaza from the West Bank (100,000 Pfizer, 50,000 Sputnik Light) – of which the Sputnik Light were spoiled after preventive measures put in place to safeguard their appropriate cold chain for preservation failed.
  • On Wednesday 25 August, 100,000 Pfizer vaccines were delivered to oPt via the COVAX mechanism: 40,000 doses went to Gaza and 60,000 to West Bank
  • The previous day, on Tuesday 24 August, a shipment of 500,000 Moderna vaccines arrived in oPt also via the COVAX mechanism, donated by the US government: 200,000 doses were delivered to Gaza, while 300,000 were delivered to West Bank.

Vaccination Numbers / News (as of 23 September)

  • 1,347,092  people have been vaccinated in total across the oPt: 950,324 in the West Bank, and 396,768 in Gaza. These figures represent around 45% of the target Palestinian population (16 years and above)
  • Of these numbers, the total who have received their second dose are 654,315 in the oPt overall (excluding East Jerusalem): 531,067 in West Bank, and 123,248 in Gaza
  • In oPt there are currently 160 vaccination centres set up (120 in the West Bank including UNRWA centres; and 40 in the Gaza Strip) (PA MoH)
  • Eleven of the 40 centres in Gaza Strip are operating double shifts to offer vaccinations to those aged 16 and over
  • There has been a significant rise in public support for vaccination against COVID-19, says the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR). A majority now support making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory, with just one third opposing this. Of those opposing, a significant percentage favour vaccine mandates for public sector workers. Support for vaccine mandates is higher amongst vaccinated people.

Key supplies monitored by the Health Cluster related to COVID-19 supplies delivered or in the pipeline

More local information


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