COVID-19 Emergency Situation Report 16 (12–28 August 2020)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) 


  • The overall number of COVID-19 cases rose by forty per cent and 45 more people died.
  • First cases of community transmission reported in Gaza, leading to two fatalities.
  • Complete lockdown in Gaza, amidst intensified hostilities and a significant decline in power supply.

Situation overview

The cumulative number of Palestinians in the oPt who have contracted COVID-19 increased by 40 per cent during the reporting period, from 19,594 on 11 August to 27,386 (as of 16:00 hrs, 28 August). The number of people who recovered also rose significantly, from 11,168 to 18,819, with the result that the number of active cases has registered only a slight increase, from 8,313 to 8,409. Forty-five more people have died, bringing to 158 the cumulative number of fatalities to date. Twenty-six patients are in intensive care units (ICU), with four requiring mechanical ventilation.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH), since the onset of the pandemic, over 250,000 laboratory samples have been tested for COVID-19. Over 20,000 Palestinians are in home, or facility-based quarantine, in order to monitor their symptoms and ensure early detection. (All data as of 27 August).

Almost all of the approximately 8,000 additional cases detected during the reporting period were in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), with Hebron and East Jerusalem again accounting for most of the active cases. However, eighty new cases were detected in the Gaza Strip, which also recorded two fatalities, the first since May. In a worrying development, on 24 August, four cases were detected among members of the same family in Al-Maghazi refugee camp, the first cases of COVID-19 reported outside of quarantine facilities in Gaza. Despite the imposition of a total lockdown, new cases have been detected since, the majority unrelated to the initial cluster, raising fears of community transmission. In response, the authorities in Gaza have instituted a lockdown and activated the highest phase of their COVID-19 contingency plan.

In Gaza, where approximately 600,000 pupils had started the academic year on 8 August, all schools are now closed again.  In the West Bank, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is still planning to reopen schools on 6 September (except for 12th grade students who returned on 9 August), despite the closure of a number of schools due to confirmed COVID-19 cases among pupils and teachers.

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