Libya COVID-19 Surveillance Weekly Bulletin: Epidemiological Week 48 (29 Nov – 05 Dec)

Situation Report
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  • After a decreasing trend since mid-August 2021, case and death incidence rates in the country have plateaued. At the national level, Libya has stabilized cases (3000-4000 cases per week) and COVID-19 testing in the last five weeks, with a moderate to a high incidence of community transmission and moderate lab testing capacity. It is the first time the weekly lab testing capacity fell from adequate to moderate (376 people tested per 100,000 population per week. WHO recommends maintaining lab testing week above 400 persons tested million population per week at all administrative levels. (See Table III)

  • 28 COVID-19 labs (out of 40) reported 25,600 (25,117 PCR and 483 Ag-RDT) new lab tests done in Epi-week 48. Thus, out of the 1,950,538 tests in Libya since the beginning of the response, 375,468 (19.2%) were confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

  • Compared to Epi-week 47, there was an 8.3% decrease in overall national testing: by regions, West (7% increase), East (21% decrease) and South (63% decrease). Thus, 96.3% (24,664) of national testing was performed in the West as compared to both East (3.4%, only 866 tests) and South (0.3%, only 70 tests) Regions. (-see fig. 1). The decrease in East is attributable to low reporting of cases by RRTs and constraints in lab supplies in all districts in the East and South. In the South, testing was only done in Sabha due to the above reasons.

  • The national positivity rate for Epi-week remained stable after a decreasing trend since week 28. It decreased from 13.7% in week 47 to 12.7 in week 48, in the West, with a positivity rate of 12.5%. It cannot be generalised based on the positivity rate in the East (18.5%) and South (20%), which differ markedly from the national-level positivity rate. It is recommended that positivity rates be kept below 5% in all administrative levels. National numbers of cases, deaths and lab tests are skewed to West.

  • Case incidence per 100,000 decreased from 56.04 in week 47 to 47.85 in week 48. The overall number of new cases reported in EPID week 48 shows a 15% decrease (3,259 cases) from 3,817 cases last week, with West reporting a 13% decrease in new patients. East reported a 34% decrease, and South had a 50% decrease in cases.

  • In Epi-week 48, the number of new deaths (51) showed a 12% decrease compared to last week (58). As a result, the mortality rate decreased from 0.85 to 0.75 deaths per 100,000 cases, with a case fatality rate of 1.6%. However, the CFR remained high in the East (14.4) and South (7.1), showing increased disease severity. Compared to last week, East reported a 23% decrease in deaths for the reporting week and no change in deaths reported in West and South (- see table 1).

  • Libya remains classified under moderate to high community transmission (CT2 - CT3) with Alpha, Beta and Delta Variants of Concern (VOC) circulation. Verification request ongoing regarding Delta VOC presence in Libya by EMRO through IHR National Focal Point. Libya reported no presence of Omicron VOC to WHO.