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WHO EMRO COVID-19 situation updates for week 33 (15–21 August 2021)


The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 21 August 2021, the global cumulative incidence reached 210 611 164 reported cases and 4 412 441 associated deaths with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.1%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 14 062 593 cases, which represent about 6.7% of the global count, with 256 781 associated deaths (CFR 1.8%). 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 (4 640 695 cases; 33% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (1 819 455; 12.9%) and Pakistan (1 123 812; 7.9%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (101 354; CFR 2.2%) followed by Pakistan (24 923; CFR 2.2%) and Tunisia (22 609; CFR 3.5%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (18.9%) followed by Sudan (7.4%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.26%), United Arab Emirates (0.28%) and Bahrain (0.51%).

During epidemiological week 33, the Region reported a decrease in cases of 9.6% when compared to the previous week (452 805 cases compared to 501 055 cases). On the other hand, an increase of 3% was observed for associated deaths (7208 deaths compared to 6998 deaths).

Morocco, Islamic Republic of Iran and Libya reported a relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 33. The cumulative number of cases increased from 752 076 to 806 288 in Morocco (a 7.2% weekly increase), from 4 389 085 to 4 640 695 in Islamic Republic of Iran (a 5.7% weekly increase) and from 281 930 to 295 254 in Libya (a 4.7% weekly increase). Morocco, Islamic Republic of Iran and Libya had the largest relative increase in deaths.

In terms of testing, a total of 205 736 445 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 4 832 061 tests in week 33, which shows a 4.2% decrease compared to the previous week when 5 044 600 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (71.6 million), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (27.8 million) and Saudi Arabia (26.8 million). The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are performing the highest rates of testing per capita (7166/1000 and 3297/1000, respectively). The average positivity rate for the Region is 6.8%. 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 in the 22 countries is 187 587 838. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 46 456 077 followed by Saudi Arabia at 34 098 226 and Morocco at 30 136 555. On the other hand the total number of administrated doses in Sudan is 827 961, in Libya is 889 957, in Yemen is 311 483, in Somalia is 279 869, in Syria is 108 276 and in Djibouti is 54 229.*

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.

For more data from the Region, please visit the COVID-19 dashboard.

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