Libya COVID-19 Surveillance Weekly Bulletin: Epidemiological Week 33 (16 – 22 August)

Situation Report
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  • Libya reported a declining trend in cases for a second week proportional to the lab testing. Although it is important to note that there is still ongoing community transmission in all districts in the country, and case numbers, while declining, remain high in most districts, especially in the South.

  • 29 COVID-19 labs (out of 34) reported 48,608 new lab tests done in Epi-week 33. Thus, out of the 1,494,653 tests in Libya since the beginning of the response, 296,879 (19.9%) were confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

  • Compared to Epi-week 32, there was a 12% decrease in overall national testing: by regions, West (14% decrease), South (63% increase) and East (17% increase). Thus, 93% (45,223) of national testing was performed in the West as compared to both East (only 1646 tests) and South (only 1739 tests) Regions (- see fig. 1).

  • The national positivity rate for Epi-week has a decreasing trend since week 28. It decreased from 26.9% in week 32 to 25.2 in week 33, mainly representing the West with a positivity rate of 23%. It cannot be generalized based on the positivity rate in the East (37.6%) and South (70.4%), which differ markedly from the national-level positivity rate. It is recommended that positivity rates should be kept below 5% in all districts. National numbers of cases, deaths and lab tests are skewed to West.

  • The overall number of new cases reported in EPID week 33 shows a 17% decrease (12,261 cases) from 14,771 cases last week. Case incidence per 100,000 decreased from 216.9 in week 32 to 180 in week 33, with West reporting a 22% decrease in new patients. East reported a 12% increase, and South had a 42% increase in cases. The lab testing remains a limiting factor, and 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.

  • Libya has not reported an official confirmation of the Delta variant. However, Delta is suspected because of its circulation in neighboring Tunisia and Algeria.

  • In Epi-week 33, the number of new deaths (143) showed a 22% decrease compared to last week. As a result, the mortality rate decreased from 2.7 to 2.1 deaths per 100,000 cases, with a case fatality rate of 1.17%. As compared to last week, West reported a 30% decrease in deaths for the reporting week, East (4% increase) and 7% decrease reported in South (- see table 1).

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

  • In week 32, EWARN in Libya reported 730 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (fever, cough and difficulty breathing).

  • Libya implements PCR testing conducted 72 hours for entry with no testing on arrival or quarantine for arriving passengers. In addition, Libya has not implemented any vaccine exemptions or imposing entry restrictions for any country.