Syria Country Office COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Flash Update No. 7 | 1 - 31 August 2020

Situation Report
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Situation Overview

As of September 15, 2020, the Syrian Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported 3,654 COVID-19 cases across Syria: 2,602 active, 889 recoveries and 163 registered deaths . The first positive case was announced on 22 March 2020, with the first fatality reported on 29 March 2020.

According to the Syrian Ministry of Health (MoH), as of 21 August, 76 healthcare workers (four percent of reported cases) have tested positive for COVID-19, an increase of 31 health workers since the last report on 04 August. This highlights the particular risks faced by healthcare workers; and underscores the potential the already fragile and overstretched healthcare capacity to be further compromised. The Syrian healthcare system is unable to absorb all suspected cases and adapt wards to accommodate increased numbers of COVID-19 patients.

In light of an increase of COVID-19 cases in various areas, humanitarian access and border crossings remain impacted as authorities, as well as neighboring countries continue to implement or re-inforce precautionary measures. Most land borders into Syria remain closed with some limited exemptions, including commercial and relief shipments, humanitarian and commercial cargo, humanitarian personnel, students, and medical cases .

A recent inter-agency socio-economic impact analysis of COVID-19 that revealed that COVID-19 and the lockdown, in particular, seem to have exacerbated previous gender norms, roles and responsibilities but had little impact on the decision-making processes in daily life. The traditional role of women cleaning the house became more burdensome and complex due to the increased need of disinfection and sanitation due to the fear of COVID in light of a lack of information on how the virus spreads. Other domestic tasks like cooking and caring for family members also increased as well as the mental stress involved in being responsible for additional family members present in the house, including those with disabilities. This added to the challenges facing women as a result of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. In addition, there is increased risk of child labour, GBV, early marriage and other forms of exploitation. People with disabilities are also faced with challenges accessing health services. Precautionary measures that included movement restrictions and suspension of many businesses in various sectors have adversely impacted the already dire humanitarian situation.