Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 43

occupied Palestinian territory, issued 10 September 2020

Information for period: 5 March – 10 September 2020

Highlights

  • COVID-19 cases in Gaza Strip tripled since last week to 1,551 cases
  • WHO delivered lab kits, vital medical equipment and health information to support the response in Gaza
  • WHO established a temporary coordination mechanism for Gaza patient referrals
WHO delivered 50 pallets of life-saving medical equipment and supplies on September 7 to health authorities in the Gaza Strip including 4 BiPAP ventilators, 31 Oxygen Concentrators, 10,200 swabs and thousands of personal protective equipment items to support the response the COVID-19 outbreak, thanks to the support of the Kuwait Government
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 outbreak.

Below is an infographic highlighting WHO’s Key Performance Indicators to track the COVID-19 response:

 Coordination, planning and monitoring ​
  • In the Gaza Strip, community transmission remains a serious concern due to capacity gaps of the health system; local authorities have eased movement restrictions in Rafah, Khanyounis, the Middle Governorate and Gaza city, with movement allowed from 07:00 to 20:00, except for hotspot areas with clusters of cases. The North Governorate remains under lockdown due to the high number of reported cases. Citizens are urged to adhere to the public health and infection prevention and control measures, to wear masks and maintain physical distancing. Schools remain closed until further notice
  • COVID-19 testing of health workers, in-patients, contacts and suspected cases continues. People who have been in contact with positive COVID-19 cases are urged to self-identify and quarantine at home and maintain infection prevention and control measures, in order to facilitate tracing and stop further transmission
  • Provision of essential health services, including vaccination and maternal and child services, is gradually resuming at the five main Ministry of Health (MoH) district primary healthcare centres, as some services were temporarily suspended following the detection of the first case within the community on 25 August. Gaza health authorities are working closely with UNRWA and NGO health providers to ensure provision of essential medical services to non-communicable disease patients through outreach teams
  • WHO continues to address key priorities, including to scale-up testing and contact tracing; case management capacity; risk communications and community engagement. The provision of essential protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers continues to be a priority together with training in infection prevention and control
  • Additional challenges include: access to information about available health and testing services; take up of COVID-19 free call line 103; citizens avoiding medical treatment due to fear of infection
  • In the West Bank, since the school opening on Sept 6, some 80 schools had to temporarily close, following confirmed COVID-19 cases among pupils and/or school staff.
Surveillance and Laboratory diagnostics   
  • 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 increased to 37,214 including 35,663 cases in the West Bank and 1,551 in the Gaza Strip
  • In the Gaza Strip, the cumulative total of confirmed cases is 1,551, including 1,427 active cases, 10 deaths and 114 recovered; three patients are receiving care in intensive care units (ICU), including two connected to mechanical ventilators. A total of 96 health workers are also among the confirmed cases.Confirmed cases continue to increase, with over 100 cases per day reported for most days in the reporting period (since 4 Sept)
  • To-date, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported a total of 25,483 cases have recovered: 25,369 in the West Bank (including 6,662 in East Jerusalem) and 114 in Gaza. Two hundred and twenty-four have died, with an overall case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.88%
  • More than half (52.7%) of all confirmed cases are female (15,070 cases) and more than two-third (71%) of all cases (20,438 cases) are below the age of 50 years
  • A total of 326,469 laboratory samples have been tested for COVID-19 according to the MoH
  • In the West Bank, most cases recorded are from Hebron (14,447), East Jerusalem (8,550), Jerusalem (2,718), Ramallah (2,801), Bethlehem (1,946), Nablus (1,732), Qalqilya (1,143), Tulkarm (502), Jenin (359), Salfit (195) and Tubas (188). A total of 400 health workers are among those confirmed cases
  • 31 patients are in serious condition requiring intensive care treatment in ICUs, with 10 requiring mechanical ventilation (as of 10 September, 14:00).
Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), Isolation and Case Management, Operations Support and Logistics 
WHO supported a 2-day training of 45 health workers in the Gaza Strip on COVID-19 case management and infection prevention and control to help strengthen the capacity of the health workforce to respond to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the community. Thanks to the Austrian Government.
  • 26,230 Palestinians are in quarantine (home or facility-based) to prevent further spread of the disease
  • In the Gaza Strip, 296 people are in one of 10 quarantine facilities which include health facilities, hotels or other designated buildings. People needing health care are being isolated in the European Hospital (EGH), while infected medical personnel are isolated in the Turkish Hospital. Mild and asymptomatic cases are being accommodated at the schools adjacent to EGH, in addition to a designated facility in Deir Al-Balah in the Middle Governorate.
  • WHO delivered further essential medical supplies, equipment and training:
    • 50 pallets of medical equipment + supplies to health authorities in Gaza including 4 ventilators, 31 Oxygen Concentrators and thousands of PPE item (sept 7) with the Government of Kuwait’s support (see image)
    • Training to 45 health workers on COVID-19 case management, infection, prevention and control and proper use of personal protective equipment (see image).
  • In the West Bank, people who were exposed to confirmed cases, and were either not tested, or tested negative, are being sent to home quarantine, as are Palestinians who enter the West Bank from Jordan or Israel. The vast majority of confirmed cases with mild symptoms are also being referred to home isolation
East Jerusalem
  • The rate of infection remains high in East Jerusalem. On 6 September, the Israeli government approved night-time curfews in some 40 cities in Israel with high infection rates, and in many Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. The curfew will be implemented between 19:00 and 05:00, entailing the closure of non-essential businesses and educational institutions
Advocacy
  • Following extensive advocacy and negotiations with stakeholders, WHO initiated a temporary coordination mechanism on 6 September to support Palestinian patients and companions required by Israel to apply for permits to access essential health services outside the Gaza Strip. Patients in the Gaza Strip face considerable barriers to access due to the delay and denial of Israeli-issued permits to exit for healthcare. Since 19 May 2020, patients have faced additional difficulties because of the absence of a coordinated system for permit applications.
  • Gaza patients identified by their medical practitioners as needing health services not available in the Gaza Strip may be referred for services in other areas of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), or outside the oPt to Israel, Jordan or Egypt. All patients referred to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as to Israel or Jordan, require Israeli-issued permits to exit. The new mechanism will re-establish a centralized application process for patients to submit permit applications once they have been identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as needing a referral outside Gaza
  • WHO continues to advocate for the unhindered access of patients and their companions to essential health services within and outside the occupied Palestinian territory.
  • A flowchart of the application process can be found here, in addition to a Q and A on the mechanism. Meanwhile, WHO’s latest monthly access report can be found here.
Risk Communications and Community Engagement (RCCE

This week WHO and UNICEF – supported by the oPt Humanitarian Fund – delivered 200,000 COVID-19 preventive measures brochures to UNRWA to distribute and reach over 1 million refugees through 200,000 food parcels. 140,000 COVID-19 awareness and education brochures and posters were delivered to local health authorities for distribution to communities and health facilities, supported by the Government of Kuwait.

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