COVID-19 Emergency Situation Report 26 (31 December 2020 – 13 January 2021)

A Palestinian artist in Gaza City paints a mural in support of Palestinians held in Israeli jails during the COVID-19 pandemic (Mahmoud Ajjour - APA Images)

OCHA / Janury 14, 2021

UN Office for the Coordination of humanitarian Assistance

  • Thirty-four per cent decline in active cases throughout the oPt.
  • Public health restrictions eased slightly in the West Bank and Gaza.
  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) secures provision of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Situation Overview

The reporting period witnessed a 34 per cent decrease in active COVID-19 cases in the oPt, with 14,555 additional Palestinians testing positive, and 21,742 people recovering, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH). The cumulative number of cases is 168,652, with 152,504 people recovered from the virus. The number of patients in intensive care units (ICU) continues to decline from 127 by the end of the previous reporting period, to 93, including those requiring mechanical ventilation, from 30 to 25. 

A total of 314 people died, bringing to 1,814 the cumulative number of fatalities due to the virus, 1,352 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 462 in the Gaza Strip. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR), the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases, remains at approximately one per cent in the oPt, slightly above Israel (0.8), but lower than Jordan (1.3 per cent), and Egypt (5.5 per cent).

Gaza accounts for 51 per cent of all active cases in the oPt, followed in the West Bank by the Nablus governorate (9.7 per cent), the East Jerusalem area (8.4 per cent), and Ramallah governorate (7.4 per cent).

In response to the decrease in infections, the authorities in Gaza have eased certain public health restrictions.  In the West Bank, new lockdown regulations that entered into effect on 2 January will continue until 17 January, although compliance and enforcement have been limited. In Israel, restrictions have been tightened, with most schools and nonessential businesses closed, and the public instructed not to move beyond one kilometre from their homes, except for essential needs. These measures, which also apply to East Jerusalem, will continue until at least 21 January.

In order to gather data on the prevalence of COVID-19 in the oPt, and to provide guidance on prevention and control measures, the MoH is conducting a serological survey, targeting over 3,000 households in the West Bank and Gaza. This is part of an international study covering 55 countries, involving the collection of blood samples to test for COVID-19 antibodies, along with information on demographics, hospitalization history, and symptoms of acute illness since the outbreak started.

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