Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Update 35

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 35
occupied Palestinian territory, issued 9 July 2020

Information for period: 5 March – 9 July 2020


  • The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 continues to surge in the West Bank with an average of 383 new cases per day since July 1
  • The Palestinian Authority has extended the movement restrictions from 8 July for a further five days
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).

Below are our Key Performance Indicators for our COVID-19 response:

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 continues to impact access to essential services outside for referral patients as well as the import and customs clearance of essential medical equipment and supply shipments. The Humanitarian Coordinator and key partners are working to address the clearance of humanitarian shipments and coordinate exit of urgent medical referral cases
  • The WHO risk assessment remains very high for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)
  • The total number of cases in oPt is 5,829 including 5,757 cases in the West Bank and 72 in the Gaza Strip, no new cases reported in Gaza in the same period
  • The number of people testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 continues to increase
  • Since 1 July (to 9 July) the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) has averaged 383 cases per day in July, with 3,064 new cases and 16 fatalities
  • Most cases recorded are from Hebron (4,027) East Jerusalem (609), Jerusalem (281), Bethlehem (20), Nablus (210) and Ramallah (157). Other governorates (Salfit, Qalqiliya, Tubas, Tulkarm, Jenin) continue to record low case numbers. A total of 14 health workers are among those confirmed cases
  • Twenty-three patients are in a serious condition, with three patients requiring mechanical ventilation (as of 9 July)
  • The Prime Minister’s office extended the lockdown from 8 July for five more days allowing only pharmacies, bakeries and supermarkets to open; factories and banks are exempt with safety measures; movement of goods allowed within governorates
  • The Palestinian Authority warned those who violate the safety measures are subjected to fines, closure of their commercial establishments and detention.
  • Cases are expected to continue to rise in hot spots and most affected communities due to challenges related to: staff shortages impacting contact tracing and follow up of mild cases in home isolation;  supply gaps affecting infection protection control and case management, including local shortages of personal protective equipment for frontline health workers; the need for public health protection measures like physical distancing and hygiene measures to be adhered to; difficulty complying with home isolation for mild and moderate cases due to over-crowded living conditions
  • To-date, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported a total of 699 cases have recovered: 639 in the West Bank (including 174 in East Jerusalem) and 60 in Gaza. Twenty-five people have died, with an overall case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.42%
  • Less than half (47%) of all confirmed cases are male (1,927 cases) and about 83% of all cases (3,063 cases) are below the age of 50 years in the oPt, excluding East Jerusalem.
Laboratory diagnostics
  • A total of 128,797 laboratory samples have been tested for COVID-19 according to the MoH, with 13,025 samples tested in the Gaza Strip.
Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), Isolation and Case Management, Operations Support and Logistics ​
  • 19,255 Palestinians are in quarantine (home or facility-based) to prevent further spread of the disease
  • In Gaza, 311 people are in one of the seven operational quarantine facilities which include health facilities, hotels or other designated buildings
  • In continuation of their partnership to strengthen local capacities in responding to COVID-19, WHO supported MDM-France in conducting the following activities during the reporting period:
    • On 5 July, a training was organized for 14 MoH officials in Gaza Strip, to strengthen their knowledge on operational policies of Respiratory Triage Center (RTC)
    • From 6- 8 July, 40 participants from MOH attended practical training and a simulation    at the RTC near Al-Aqsa Hospital to strengthen their capacity to deal with and manage COVID-19 suspected cases in safe and effective manner.
East Jerusalem
As of July 9 (14:00), the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health reported 609 COVID-19 cases in East Jerusalem. Three deaths have been reported (CFR- 0.49%) and 174 have recovered in the same period.

Health Cluster update

Click on the image to read the Health Cluster’s latest Bulletin.  

The Health Cluster held a meeting chaired by WHO and co-chaired by the Palestinian Authority’s  Minister of Health Dr. Mai Al-Kaila on 8 July. Partners discussed the operational needs in the West Bank with a focus on the COVID-19 challenges in Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus.

The MoH presented the emerging immediate needs for the most affected governorates alongside the revised strategy to address case management of COVID-19 cases. The MoH also called upon UNRWA and NGOs to provide support to effectively control the outbreak.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) 

Strengthened human resources capacity and more essential supplies to manage the outbreak have been identified as priority needs by the Health Cluster:
  • Laboratory testing items: the MoH is scaling up its capacity and is currently conducting up to 5,000 COVID-19 PCR tests daily; but needs for testing is up to 150,000 tests per month until the end of 2020
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items for frontline health workers: despite substantial supplies of PPE items delivered, there remain shortages, especially in the West Bank governorates severely hit by the outbreak and in the Gaza Strip; MoH estimates that at least 2 million gloves, up to 750,000 surgical masks and 100,000 N-95 respirators would be needed every month until the end of 2020
  • At least an additional 50 sets of medical equipment items for intensive care of COVID-19 patients are required to cover the immediate needs in Gaza treatment centres and up to 100 in the West Bank treatment centres
  • Essential health services such as sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child healthcare and nutrition services, access to non-communicable disease (NCD) treatment, emergency care services, access to cancer treatment should be maintained.
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