Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Update 33


  • Cases have surged in the West Bank in the past two weeks following lifting the public health restrictions, with 873 cases confirmed since 13 June
  • WHO and UNICEF and partners in close consultation with the Ministry of Health are targeting the population of Hebron Governorate with health advice and guidance
  • WHO procured and delivered three shipments of essential medical equipment and supplies in the reporting period

WHO preparedness, readiness and response

WHO is continuing to work with partners to support Ministry of Health’s (MoH) efforts to respond to the COVID-19 situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Simulation exercises have been conducted in the past week with local health staff in the Gaza Strip to strengthen their capacity to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The training was delivered by MDM-France, in partnership with WHO and the Ministry of Health, and supported by EU humanitarian aid.

Coordination, planning and monitoring

  • The suspension of bilateral agreements and coordination in response to Israel’s threatened annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank is impacting access to essential services outside for referral patients as well as import and customs clearance of essential medical equipment and supply shipments. This continues to be a challenge.

Three pallets of essential medicines to help manage patients with COVID-19 have been delivered by WHO to local health authorities in the Gaza Strip. With thanks to UK aid.  ​


  • The WHO risk assessment remains very high for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). With the easing lockdown and restrictive measures, there has been a significant increase in the number of people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.  In the past fortnight 873 (since 13 June) cases have been confirmed in the West Bank, predominantly in Hebron (85%). On 23 June, oPt experienced the largest increase, with 194 confirmed cases in a single day in the West Bank
  • The total number of cases in oPt is 1,568, including 1,496 cases in the West Bank and 72 in the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, most cases are recorded from Hebron (868), East Jerusalem (206), Jerusalem Governorate (153), followed by Bethlehem (97), Ramallah (86) and Nablus (44). A total of 11 health workers are among those confirmed cases
  • To-date, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported a total of 616 cases have recovered: 560 in West Bank (including 174 in East Jerusalem) and 56 in Gaza. Five people have died in the oPt: case fatality rate (CFR) is 0.32%
  • About two-thirds (44.5%) of all confirmed cases are male (699 cases) and about 85% of all cases (1,033 cases) are below the age of 50 years in the oPt, excluding East Jerusalem.

Laboratory diagnostics 

WHO delivered five pallets of essential medical supplies including 126,000 surgical masks and 84,000 gloves to protect frontline health workers that care for COVID-19 patients in the Gaza Strip on June 24.  Thanks to the generous financial support of the Government of Kuwait.

  • A total of 82,581 laboratory samples have been tested for COVID-19 according to the MoH, with 12,393 samples tested in the Gaza Strip

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

  • 5,679  Palestinians are in quarantine (home or facility-based) for monitoring of symptoms and ensuring prevention of further spread
  • In Gaza, 280 people are in one of the four operational quarantine facilities which include designated facilities, hotels or other designated buildings
  • WHO supported the MoH in conducting a workshop targeting 30 participants from the primary healthcare directorate to discuss the current COVID-19 strategy in the Gaza Strip, in terms of epidemiology, clinical picture, case detection and management, and infection prevention and control
  • In the reporting period (from 12 – 25 June), WHO has procured and delivered the following items to health authorities in the Gaza Strip (see images above and below):
    • Five pallets of essential medical supplies including 126,000 surgical masks and 84,000 gloves to protect front line health workers that care for COVID-19 patients. The delivery on 25 June also featured coveralls (suit), N95 masks, face shields, alcogel and disinfectant, thanks to the generous support of the Government of Kuwait
    • Three pallets of essential medicines and supplies to support case management and treatment. The medicines and supplies will be used in dedicated COVID-19 facilities, known as Respiratory Triage Centres, which are separated from nearby Emergency Departments of Gaza’s five main hospitals to ensure containment and prevent further spread of the disease. The delivery has been supported by UK aid as part of a USD $500,000 commitment to support the response to COVID-19 in the oPt
  • In continuation of their partnership to strengthen local capacities in responding to COVID-19, WHO supported MDM-France in conducting the following activities during reporting period:
    • On 21 June, a training was organised for 13 MoH officials to strengthen their knowledge on operational policies of respiratory triage center (RTC)
    • On 22 and 23 June, 60 participants from MOH attended practical training, in Khan Younis governorate, in preparation for a simulation exercise, which took place on 24 June at the RTC near Nasser Hospital, with the objective to boost the capacities at the RTC to deal with and manage COVID-19 suspected cases
    • The activities aimed to ensure implementation of safety measures and infection prevention and control precautions, to ensure correct patient pathways and adequate case management, and to improve coordination and documentation in respiratory triage centers.

East Jerusalem

The EU and WHO delivered personal protective equipment and medical items to East Jerusalem Hospitals to support preparedness for COVID-19 of all six network’s hospital

  • As of June 25, 2020 (10:00 am), the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health reported 206 COVID-19 cases in East Jerusalem. Two deaths have been reported (CFR- 0.97%) and 174 recovered in the same period
  • A substantial delivery of personal protective equipment and medical items was supplied on 17 June by the European Union and WHO to the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network (EJHN) to support preparedness for COVID-19.  The delivery includes personal protective equipment and disinfectant items for all six of the network’s hospitals.  The needs of the EJHN were a priority in the United Nations Inter-agency COVID-19 Response Plan released in April 2020
  • This EU contribution is part of an EU humanitarian aid grant that helps WHO scale up the capacity of Palestine’s health system for testing, case management and infection, prevention and control in response to the COVID-19
  • Watch the handover ceremony at Augusta Victoria Hospital on June 17, read the press release here. This delivery generously supported by EU Humanitarian Aid.

Health Access 

Palestinian patients face worsening of barriers to access healthcare:

  • Desperate situation in Gaza with many patients unable to apply for Israeli-issued permits
  • Over a third (34%) of patient applications for permits to exit Gaza in May were unsuccessful

Read WHO’s latest monthly access report:

Risk Communications and Community Engagement ​

WHO and UNICEF delivered more than 80,000 brochures with health guidance for COVID-19 to the Hebron area for distribution to health facilities and the public via the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and Palestine Red Crescent Society. 

  • Risk Communications and Community Engagement has ramped up again in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the West Bank
  • WHO and UNICEF, with support from partners are working with the Ministry of Health, media and NGOs around Hebron to disseminate public health messages to help stop the spread of COVID-19
  • The agencies have released an emergency media pack, which provides key social media, radio and TV health messages for use in affected areas, where there are clusters of COVID-19 cases, such as Hebron
  • WHO and UNICEF have distributed more than 80,000 brochures via partners in Hebron on home quarantine and preventative measures.

More local information

Document Type: Situation Report, Update
Document Sources: World Health Organization (WHO)
Subject: Health
Publication Date: 25/06/2020

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