As of 21 August 2020, 4,845 samples have been tested and 59 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Northwest Syria (NWS). Reports indicate that there could be one death as a result of COVID-19 as of August 20th, but this remains to be verified. Contact tracing is continuing for all positive cases and health partners are focusing on additional preventative measures. COVID-19 cases in NWS may rise in the coming weeks, given an incubation period of up to 14 days for the disease after exposure. Precautions against a potential spread of the virus have been scaled up in response to identified cases, including restrictions on movements, gatherings, commercial activities, and inperson education services.
The Humanitarian Needs Assessment Programme's (HNAP) 26 August 2020 COVID-19 Rapid Assessment showed that all total curfews, partial curfews, and community lockdowns had ended in almost all areas controlled by non-state and Turkish-backed armed forces (NSAG & TBAF). According to the report, public spaces remain open and accessible in most communities (86%), while awareness campaigns were in place in a majority of communities in only 16 of 44 assessed sub-districts. Temperature checks were in place in 26 sub-districts and distribution of soap/disinfectant/masks were available in 27 subdistricts. 82% of assessed communities lack testing provision for COVID-19, and 68% lack space in health facilities to monitor suspected cases of the virus.
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 NWS. 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 three 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 in-depth analysis of changes in knowledge, attitudes, and practices over time and among cohorts of respondents in NWS, comparing data collection rounds 2 and 3.