WHO Libya: Health response to COVID-19 in Libya, update # 17 (Reporting period: 1 to 14 October 2020)

Situation Report
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o Libya is one of fourteen countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region that have witnessed a steady increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 over the past three weeks

. More than 5% of samples have tested positive since the last update, while the number of deaths has declined.

o Under WHO’s transmission scenarios, Libya remains classified as “community transmission”. Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Libya on 24 March 2020, a total of 45 821 people have been infected with the virus. Of this number, 19 851 people remain actively infected, 25 301 people have recovered, and 669 people have died. The national case fatality rate (CFR) is 1.46%. The municipalities reporting large numbers of confirmed cases over the past two weeks include Tripoli (21 334), Misrata (3751), Janzour (1494), Zliten (2244), Ghiryan (1348) and Benghazi (1521).

o Thus far, a total of 277 786 specimens have been tested. This number includes 200 316 in Tripoli, 24 766 in Misrata, 18 778 in Benghazi, 9578 in Sebha, 9799 in Zliten and 2352 in Ghiryan.

o The results of a recent WHO/UNICEF/National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) assessment of vaccines in Libya showed that supplies of BCG vaccines ran out five months ago and supplies of hexavalent vaccines were forecast to run out by the second week of November 2020. Similarly, OPV and measles vaccines were forecast to run out by the end of December 2020. WHO has classified all four vaccines as critical. Although national and regional warehouses have buffer stocks of these vaccines, the country is likely to face a huge shortfall in vaccines if no immediate measures are taken to procure and distribute additional supplies. This will be Libya’s second vaccine stockout in 2020 and the third in two years. This means that many children have missed or may miss their scheduled vaccine doses, which increasesthe risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

o The continued closure of primary health care services as a result of shortages of health care workers, power cuts and lack of PPE, is affecting essential services. These include reproductive health care, services for children under five years of age and treatment for patients with noncommunicable diseases.