Libya COVID-19 Surveillance Monthly Bulletin: Epidemiological Month of July (1-31 July)

Situation Report
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34 COVID-19 labs (out of 34) reported 181,477 new lab tests done for July.

• This month, two new labs were opened (the total became 34)—Suq Aljuma NCDC Lab and Alkufra new PCR Lab (which merged with ALkufra NCDC lab). Also, Emsaed International Health Control resumed reporting again this month since June 2020.

• Death numbers reporting changed to the region instead of the municipality since the 27th of July 2021 by the Emergency Unit in the MOH.

• Out of the total 1,324,096 tests in Libya since the beginning of the response, 253,436 (19.1%) were confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

• Compared to June, there was a 95% increase in overall national testing: by regions, West (93% increase), South (197% increase) and East (83% increase). Thus, 96.9% (175,794) of national testing was performed in the West as compared to both East (only 2116 tests) and South (only 3567 tests) Regions. (-see fig. 1)

• The national positivity rate for July was 32.8%, which mainly represent’s the West with a positivity rate of 32.3%.
However, it cannot be generalized based on the positivity rate in the East (28.7%) and South (61%), which differ markedly from the national-level positivity rate. Therefore, national numbers of cases, deaths and lab tests are skewed to the West.

• The overall number of new cases reported in July shows a 660% increase (59,531 cases) compared to June (7833 cases), with West reporting a 696% increase in new patients. East reported a 71% increase, and South a 515% increase in the number of cases. Although the lab testing remains a limiting factor in East and South, cases numbers have significantly increased last month and remain an underestimate for East and South due to insufficient tested numbers. The reasons behind the increased case numbers are weak implementation and adjustment of Public Health and Social Measures. In addition, Libya has not reported an official confirmation of the Delta variant. Delta is suspected because of its circulation in neighbouring Tunisia.

• In July, the number of new deaths (350) showed a 393% increase compared to June with 71 deaths. As a result, the mortality rate for July 5.1 deaths per 100,000 cases, with a case fatality rate of 1%.

• As compared to June, West reported a 610% increase in deaths for the reporting week, East (10% decrease) and 344% increase reported in South (- see table 1)

• Libya remains classified under community transmission with the circulation of Alpha and Beta Variants of Concern (VOC).

• As a part of PHSM, Libya has suspended schools and universities as of the 11th of July 2021. Summer resorts, parks and public gardens have also been closed in some municipalities until further notice. As of the 8th of July 2021, borders with Tunisia have remained closed except for repatriation. In addition, GNU has officially issued a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am starting on the 27th of July 2021, for two weeks in Tripoli, central and western regions. Furthermore, the Ministry of education suspended all educational activities until till 5th of August. As of the 29th of July, Libyan authorities has made PCR testing mandatory for domestic flights.