OCHA / March 29, 2021
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance
- In March, active cases in the oPt rise by nearly half; active cases in Gaza more than triple.
- Significant rise in patients in intensive care units and in those requiring mechanical ventilation.
- The Palestinian authorities vaccinated over 70,000 people by end of March, including 8,000 with both doses.
March witnessed a 48 per cent increase in active COVID-19 cases in the oPt, with 62,529 additional Palestinians testing positive, and 53,814 people recovering, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH). The cumulative number of cases is 270,878, with 242,968 people recovered from the virus. The number of patients in intensive care units (ICU) increased significantly from 117 at the end of February to 209, with those requiring mechanical ventilation rising from 26 to 68.
A total of 622 people died during March, compared with 274 in February, bringing to 2,881 the cumulative number of fatalities due to the virus: 2,270 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 611 in the Gaza Strip. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR), the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases, remains at 1.1 per cent in the oPt, the same as in Jordan, compared with 0.75 in Israel and 5.9 per cent in Egypt.
In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, there was a 13 per cent increase overall in cases in March, from 15,199 to 17,122. After a 61 per cent decline in February compared with the previous month, active cases in Gaza surged by 356 per cent (from 1,737 to 7,917). By the end of the month, Gaza accounted for 32 per cent of all active cases in the oPt, compared with 10 per cent at the end of February. In the West Bank, the Nablus governorate registered 21 per cent of all active cases in the oPt, followed by Hebron (10 per cent), Jenin (eight per cent), and Tulkarm (seven per cent).
On 30 March, health authorities in Gaza confirmed the first cases of the new variant B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK, which is also known to be responsible for the recent increase in cases in the West Bank. In both West Bank and Gaza, the surge has led to the re-introduction of various levels of restriction.
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