COVID-19 Emergency Situation Report 30 – April 2021

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila receives a COVID-19 vaccination in a West Bank hospital (Palestinian Authority Health Minstery)

OCHA  /  May 6, 2021

[UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs]

  • A nearly 60 per cent increase in active cases in Gaza; significant decline in the West Bank.
  • About 250,000 Palestinians have been vaccinated, (excluding East Jerusalem), with 170,000 receiving both doses.  
  • Health partners are requesting an additional $36 million to respond to increased COVID-19 needs.

Situation Overview

April witnessed a 20 per cent increase in active COVID-19 cases in the oPt, with 55,089 additional Palestinians testing positive, and 59,716 people recovering, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH). The cumulative number of cases is 325,967, with 302,684 people recovered from the virus. The number of patients in intensive care units (ICU) declined from 209 at the end of March to 146, with those requiring mechanical ventilation falling from 68 to 43.

A total of 644 people died during April, compared with 622 in March, bringing to 3,525 the cumulative number of fatalities due to the virus: 2,626 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 899 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, compared with 0.76 in Israel, but less than 1.24 per cent in Jordan, and 5.86 per cent in Egypt.

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, there was a 58 per cent decrease overall in active cases in April, from 17,112 to 7,270. After a sharp surge in March, active cases in Gaza again increased by 58 per cent overall in April, from 7,917 to 12,488. By the end of the month, Gaza accounted for 63 per cent of all active cases in the oPt, compared with 32 per cent at the end of March. In the West Bank, the Nablus governorate registered 14 per cent of all active cases in the oPt, followed by Tulkarm (six per cent), Ramallah and Al-Bireh (four per cent), and Jenin (four per cent).

Although the daily number of active cases in Gaza was declining by the end of the month, ICU bed occupancy was 60 per cent and over 80 per cent in the West Bank.  The more contagious B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, is driving the vast majority of cases in both the West Bank and Gaza, while the new B1.351 variant, initially detected in South Africa, has also recently been identified in the West Bank. Various levels of restriction continue in the West Bank and especially in Gaza; see below. 

The Health Cluster continues to mobilize resources to respond to increased COVID-19 needs, beyond what had been included in the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan. Partners are requesting an additional US$36,821,796 to cover needs from April to December, focusing on diagnostics, case management, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) supplies and Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE).

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