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COVID-19 situation updates for week 31 (31 July–6 August 2022)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 6 August 2022, the global cumulative incidence reached 580 940 852 reported cases and 6 423 296 associated deaths at a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of 1.11%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 22 765 524 cases, representing about 3.92% of the global count, with 345 676 associated deaths (CFR 1.52%). 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 (7 434 945; 32.66% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (2 450 637; 10.76%) and Jordan (1 720 778; 7.56%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total COVID-19-associated deaths (142 398; CFR 1.92%) followed by Pakistan (30 505; CFR 1.96%) and Tunisia (29 105; CFR 2.57%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (18.10%) followed by Sudan (7.86%) and Syria (5.58%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by United Arab Emirates (0.23%), Bahrain (0.23%), and Qatar (0.16%) respectively.

During epidemiological week 31, the Region reported a decrease in cases by 24% when compared to the previous week (114 257 cases compared to 149 707 cases). An increase by 13% was also observed for associated deaths (573 deaths in the current week compared to 508 deaths in the previous week).

The weekly number of cases have increased in five countries in the Region as compared to the previous week. This week the number of COVID-19-associated deaths increased in two out of 22 countries of the Region as compared to the previous week.*

In terms of testing, a total of 416 533 566 laboratory tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 2 183 466 tests in week 31, which shows a 3% decrease as compared to the previous week when 2 246 578 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (178 699 047), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (53 364 967) and Saudi Arabia (43 944 794). The average positivity rate for the Region is 5.47%. WHO recommends a positivity rate of around 3% to 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 in the 22 countries is 809 965 321. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 304 343 131 followed by Islamic Republic of Iran at 152 446 648 and Egypt at 96 161 665. On the other hand, Bahrain (3 462 975), Yemen (880 609) and Djibouti (231 653) administrated the lowest number COVID-19 dosed in the Region.**

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.

*Reporting on weekly relative difference instead of cumulative difference to better reflect the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic as we witness a decline in reported cases. This decline could be partially due to the change in the frequency and quality of data being shared by some countries as they moved to reporting through weekly aggregated data.

**The data on vaccination is obtained from a number of sources including media reports and country websites for ministries of health.