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COVID-19 situation updates for week 13 (28 March - 3 April 2021)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 3 April 2021, the global cumulative incidence reached 129 944 487 reported cases and 2 832 530 associated deaths with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.2%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 7 701 070 cases, which represent about 5.9% of the global count, with 160 791 associated deaths (CFR 2.1%). Most countries in the Region are in the community transmission phase.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the country that has reported the highest number of total cases in the Region is Islamic Republic of Iran (1 920 394 cases; 24.9% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (868 200; 11.3%) and Pakistan (687 908; 8.9%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (62 999; CFR 3.3%) followed by Pakistan (14 778; CFR 2.1%) and Iraq (14 430; CFR 1.7%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (19.8%) followed by Syrian Arab Republic (6.7%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.2%) followed by United Arab Emirates (0.3%) and Bahrain (0.4%).

During epidemiological week 13, the Region reported an increase of 9.9% in cases when compared to the previous week (299 290 cases compared to 272 242 cases). Similarly, an increase of 8.1% was observed for associated deaths (3763 deaths compared to 3481 deaths).

Yemen, Djibouti and Jordan reported a relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 13. The cumulative number of cases increased from 3973 to 4701 in Yemen (18.3% weekly increase), from 7249 to 8509 in Djibouti (17.4% weekly increase) and from 582 133 to 626 875 in Jordan (7.7% weekly increase). Yemen, Somalia, and Jordan had the largest relative increase in deaths.

In terms of testing, a total of 116 238 302 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 4 023 802 tests in week 13, which shows a 3% increase compared to the previous week (3 895 820). The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (38.3 million), followed by Saudi Arabia (15.3 million) and Islamic Republic of Iran (13 million). The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are performing the highest rates of testing per capita (3876/1000 and 2135/1000, respectively). The average positivity rate for the Region is 6.6%. WHO recommends a positivity rate of around 3–12% as a general benchmark indicating adequate testing, which was achieved in most countries of the Region.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccination continues across the Region. The total number of doses administered so far is 25 841 607 in 20 countries where United Arab Emirates has the highest number of administered doses at 8 559 291, followed by Morocco at 8 240 870 and Saudi Arabia at 4 864 132. On the other hand, the total number of administrated doses in Djibouti is 455, in Sudan is 17 714 and in Somali is 65 377. No data is available from Syria.*

Supporting countries in the Region

The regional incident management support team continues to coordinate the response and provide technical support to countries and partners in the Region in the areas of coordination and partnership, surveillance, laboratory capacity, clinical management, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, points of entry according to the International Health Regulations (2005), research, health systems, and essential health services among others.