• Testing for COVID-19 started on March 24. As of March 31, a total of 20 samples have been tested in Syria’s NW; 18 are negative and 2 are pending. To increase testing capacity, WHO is looking into equipping a 2nd lab in the NW. A total of 5,000 tests will be delivered in Idleb on April 2.
• A preparedness and response plan, is being implemented, with a focus on prevention, risk communication, protection of health workers, surveillance of entry points, provision of PPE and community/facility based isolation.
• Hundreds of health professionals and community health workers are currently being trained on IPC and unified messages on prevention are being echoed to communities across NW Syria. Screening at point of entry needs to be strengthened further.
• WHO is stepping up support to three hospitals that are to serve as isolation units, with a total capacity of 210 beds. WHO is also preparing to procure 90 ventilators in addition to roughly 150 already in use in the area.
• Global travel restrictions, embargoes and customs procedures are impacting surge capacity and shipments of e.g. PPE.