As of 21 August, 280 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Northeast Syria (NES), including 36 recoveries and 16 fatalities. The highest concentration of cases is in Al-Hasakeh Governorate. Reports from the The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicate that one in four confirmed cases are amongst health workers in NES with the greatest concentration in Hassakeh city. The report indicated that the actual number of COVID-19 cases in NES is likely much higher due to significant under-testing, particularly in areas outside Al-Hasakeh, along with lockdown measures in many areas being arbitrary. The risk of a large-scale outbreak in NES remains high, as risk perception varies amongst communities and potentially creates a false sense of security. As a result, humanitarian actors continue to face uncertainty in terms of the effect that new preventive measures will have on humanitarian operations.
The Humanitarian Needs Assessment Programme's (HNAP) 26 August 2020 COVID-19 Rapid Assessment showed that community lockdowns and total curfews were in place in a majority of communities in AlHasakeh Governorate, but are absent in Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, and Deirez-Zor. Awareness campaigns were in place mostly in Al-Hasakeh, while temperature checks and distribution of soap/disinfectant/masks were available in very few sub-districts, with most available in Al-Hasakeh only. Most basic services are fully available in most sub-districts, although 59% of sub-districts report that they are in need of soap or water, 80% of sub-districts report that a majority of the population are in need of masks, and 89% report that a majority of the population are in need of disinfectants.
In April 2020, REACH began a series of monthly knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) surveys with the goal of informing the communications response to the threat of COVID-19 in NES. REACH observed high levels of COVID-19 knowledge among survey respondents in the first round of data collection, which was conducted in late April as communication efforts and curfews were well under way. Greater wariness of COVID-19 was seen among attitudes and practices responses, especially among female respondents. In the second and third rounds of data collection, which were conducted in late May and late June respectively, knowledge was observed as remaining high while attitudes and practices had shifted to less cautious in relation to COVID-19 among both female and male respondents.
Descriptive statistics for all survey rounds are available here, and include each specific KAP indicator, disaggregated by governorate, sex, and rural/urban population. The present factsheet is the second indepth analysis of changes in knowledge, attitudes, and practices over time and among cohorts of respondents in NES.