Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 38
occupied Palestinian territory, issued 30 July 2020

Information for period: 5 March – 30 July 2020

Highlights

  • The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 continues to increase in the West Bank with an average of 402 new cases per day since July 1
  • Further movement restrictions will be implemented for the West Bank ahead of Eid al-Adha
WHO is supporting scaling up testing capacity for COVID-19 through the delivery of 45 laboratory kits to help testing 3,000 people for COVID-19. Thanks to oPt Humanitarian Fund for its support.  
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.

Coordination, planning and monitoring
  • Following the activation of the logistics cluster by the humanitarian coordinator, WFP, WHO and humanitarian partners continue efforts to address the clearance of humanitarian shipments. Coordination of access for medical referral patients from the Gaza Strip to essential services outside remains a concern, following the suspension of bilateral agreements and coordination in response to Israel’s threatened annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank
  • On July 27 the Palestinian Authority (PA) eased restrictions in the lead up to Eid al-Adha allowing shops to open daily until midnight, before more stringent movement restrictions are reinstated from Friday morning to Sunday morning (31 July – 2 Aug) banning travel in and between all governorates, with only pharmacies and bakeries to open
  • The PA is permitting Eid al-Adha prayers in public spaces if the public comply with precautionary measures including wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, bringing personal prayer rugs, restricting pray and sermon to 15 minutes
  • The government has maintained the ban on all social gatherings, including wedding parties and condolence gatherings, in all governorates, the ban on working in the Israeli colonial settlements as well as the closure of all infected areas
  • On July 29, local authorities in the Gaza Strip have also eased the restrictions imposed on congregational and Friday prayers in mosques. Worshipers coming from the same household are no longer required to maintain physical distancing when praying together, while a safe distance needs to be kept from others coming from different households. However, the ban still applies to vulnerable groups, like elderly and people with chronic diseases.
Surveillance
  • The WHO risk assessment remains very high for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)
  • The number of people testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 continues to rise
  • The total number of cases is 14,838 including 14,763 cases in the West Bank and  76  in the Gaza Strip
  • Since 1 July (to 30 July as of 14:00) the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) has averaged 402 cases per day, with 12,070 new cases and 75 fatalities
  • Most cases recorded are from Hebron (7,640), East Jerusalem (3,290), Jerusalem (1,147), Ramallah (736), Bethlehem (642), Nablus (481), Qalqilya (195), Jenin (145) and Tulkarm (112). Only two governorates (Salfit and Tubas) continue to record low case numbers
  • A total of 84 health workers are among those confirmed cases
  • Seventeen patients are in a serious condition, with three requiring mechanical ventilation (as of 29 July, 16:00)
  • To-date, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported a total of 6,289 cases have recovered: 6,219 in the West Bank (including 1,274 in East Jerusalem) and 70 in Gaza. Eighty-four people have died, with an overall case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.57%
  • Less than half (46%) of all confirmed cases are male (5,260 cases) and about 77% of all cases (8,689 cases) are below the age of 50 years in the oPt, excluding East Jerusalem.
Laboratory diagnostics
  • A total of 194,354 laboratory samples have been tested for COVID-19 according to the  MoH, with 13,900 samples tested in the Gaza Strip
  • WHO delivered 45 laboratory kits to local health authorities in the Gaza Strip on July 27. Funded by the oPt Humanitarian Fund, these kits support testing of 3,000 people for COVID-19. This delivery is part of WHO efforts to support the increase in testing capacity which is essential for the quick identification, isolation and prevention of further spread of the disease.
Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), Isolation and Case Management, Operations Support and Logistics 
  • 21,845 Palestinians are in quarantine (home or facility-based) to prevent further spread of the disease
  • In the Gaza Strip,  217 people are in one of three quarantine facilities which include health facilities, hotels or other designated buildings
  • WHO supported the MoH in Gaza in training 86 primary healthcare personnel on infection prevention and control measures, including donning and doffing personal protective equipment, and correct waste management.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
  • WHO has supported Gaza MoH mental health teams in organizing a campaign against substance abuse. During the reporting period, 20 community awareness sessions were conducted, targeting a total of 500 people from different age groups, with a focus on youth. The campaign included other activities such as distribution of awareness materials, posters and billboards at main streets in Gaza Strip
  • WHO continued its support to the MoH mental health directorate in the Gaza Strip by conducting clinical supervision sessions for 20 mental health professionals who provide mental health and psychosocial support to people in quarantine, their families, and frontline health workers. So far, a total of 800 people, including 200 personnel, benefitted the services provided by the mental health teams.
Supporting Continuity of Essential Health Services 

WHO supported MOH in conducting three training sessions in the Gaza Strip, targeting a total of 80 Primary HealthCare workers, on improving the quality of non-communicable diseases’ surveillance and reporting system.

Additionally, WHO coordinated the entry of five essential drugs to maintain service provision to patients with tuberculosis (TB) for three months (pictured left), in addition to a month’s supply of three life-saving medicines for patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

This coordination came as part of WHO support to local authorities in Gaza to ensure that life-saving health services are being sustained amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ​

Risk Communications and Community Engagement (RCCE)

Social media cards used as part of the RCCE campaign to promote wearing a mask in enclosed areas (left) and safe practices during Eid al-Adha (right).  

  • RCCE continues in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the West Bank
  • WHO, UNICEF, the MoH and partners are focusing communication efforts with municipalities, media and NGOs around all areas with clusters of cases (Hebron, East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Nablus) to disseminate public health messages to help control the spread of COVID-19
  • Latest key messages (for July 29 to 11 August) focus on celebrating Eid safely; preventative measures (wearing masks in enclosed spaces and while commuting, postponing weddings); supporting employees to have flexible work arrangements; highlighting domestic violence and support available, stigma, and addressing claims that COVID-19 is a conspiracy
  • Click here to access the RCCE campaign’s social media cards, videos and messages and contact Alice Plate at WHO Communications to get involved in dissemination: platea@who.int .

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