Syria: COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Flash Update #4 (1 - 31 May 2020)

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Situation Overview

As of 09 June, 2020, the Syrian Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported 144 COVID-19 cases across Syria: 76 active, 62 recoveries and 6 registered deaths. The first positive case was announced on 22 March 2020, with the first fatality reported on 29 March 2020.

The movement restrictions which were previously introduced by the Syrian government as part the national COVID-19 response; including, the country-wide curfew were lifted on May 26, 2020. However, the Syrian government is still taking active steps towards ensuring that precautionary measures are followed in public service facilities and universities.

The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes the largest global public health crisis in a century, with daunting health and socioeconomic challenges. Governments are taking unprecedented measures to limit the spread of the virus, ramping up health systems and restricting the movement of millions. The pandemic is severely disrupting access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, as well as essential Gender-Based Violence services. It is also deepening existing gender inequalities, increasing gender-based violence, and worsening discrimination and barriers for marginalized groups .The effects of self-isolation and quarantine, lockdown and movement restrictions created increased GBV risks and significant limitations in availability and access to protection services, including, but not limited to, casemanagement and psychosocial support.

Those at risk and in need of immediate humanitarian assistance include pregnant and lactating women, widows, children, people with disabilities, people with chronic diseases, the elderly and those whose coping mechanisms are drastically diminished. People affected by humanitarian crises, particularly those displaced and/or living in camps and camp-like settings, are faced with challenges accessing health services that were otherwise available before the COVID-19 outbreak. Sexual and reproductive health and GBV are significant public health issues that demand urgent and sustained attention and investment and Syria is no exception.

Immediate Response

To ensure provision of essential maternal and reproductive health and safe birth, UNFPA continues to provide maternal and neo-natal health and GBV prevention and response services. UNFPA continues coordination with the Ministry of Health (MoH), other key line ministries, and actively advocates for efforts to provide SRH services in the wake of COVID-19. In response to the programming limitations that the COVID-19 pandemic posed,UNFPA has established a programme-innovation working group which aims to: conduct rapid analyses of the issues/challenges resulting from this pandemic, identify possible solutions, propose immediate re-programming for each of UNFPA programmatic areas of work and activities that have been impacted and propose resilient actions that will help equip people and communities to become more resilient. UNFPA is also ensuring that implementing partners' (IPs) staff members adhere to precautionary and preventive measures against COVID 19, by using hand gloves, masks and hand sanitizers.