• Downward trends of COVID-19 infection in some countries continued. As of December 9, there have been 39,174,186 confirmed COVID-19 cases of which 38,467,835 recovered and 564,515 deaths were reported in the region. Since mid-January, over 127 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to the region through COVAX Facility.
• The new variant of concern, Omicron has entered the region with dozens of cases reported, primarily in India.
• The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains dire with severe food insecurity caused by drought, and with critical public services that children and families rely on at risk of collapse.
• Substantial additional funding is required to deliver lifesaving support, response to natural disasters, containment and mitigation measures of COVID-19, as well as potential cross-border shocks. Despite generous donor contributions, a funding gap of over US$127.7 million (20 per cent) remains and hampers UNICEF’s ability to respond.