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Arab States Region COVID-19 Situation Report No. 2

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Reporting Period: 18-30 April 2020

Highlights

  • All countries in the region have confirmed Covid-19 cases and the number has more than doubled since the last report on 17 April.

  • While restrictions on movement and services vary by country with enforced curfews and banned travel, some countries have developed an exit strategy and have started lifting restrictions. The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean cautions about the importance of careful planning to avoid an uncontrolled resurgence in COVID‑19 transmission and an amplified second wave of cases.

  • The region is home to some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with more than 62.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance prior to COVID-19, including 15.5 million women of reproductive age of whom an estimated 1.5 million are pregnant.

  • After years of protracted crisis, people’s resilience is weakened, and the fragile health systems in countries such as Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Somalia, are ill-equipped to step up the COVID-19 response.

  • With the start of Ramadan (24 April), some governments have adopted prevention and community distancing measures to avoid further spread of the virus.

  • The UNFPA Arab States Regional Office supports country offices and works with governments, UN agencies, and regional entities to coordinate efforts for sexual and reproductive health (SRH), gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response, and wellbeing for vulnerable populations in the context of COVID-19.

  • UNFPA country offices stepped up risk communication and community engagement along with advocacy and are coordinating with UN agencies to minimize disruption to lifesaving SRH and GBV services, provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and support wellness of health workers through infection prevention and control training. Services are delivered through solutions including virtual outreach, mobile clinics, home visits, hotlines and provision of dignity kits in isolation centres.