1. COVID-19 and containment measures overview
Infection remains widespread despite decreasing incidence and positivity rate
As of 28 February, a total of 45,000 1 (255 per 100,000) cases were recorded across the country (MoH GoS, WHO, NES COVID-19 Dashboard), with positivity rates ranging from 24% to 38% (Needs and Response Summary 22/02/2021). While testing remains too limited to understand the true extent of the outbreak, there are indications that Syria may be experiencing a renewed wave of infections, with continued widespread community transmission.
Government-held areas: positivity rates remain high despite a decrease in confirmed cases
Government-held areas: positivity rates remain high despite a decrease in confirmed cases As of 28 February, more than 15,6001 confirmed cases had been recorded in government-held areas (113 per 100,000), including 1,027 deaths (Syrian Arab News Agency 28/02/2021), double the caseload as at the end of November. The number of newly confirmed cases slowed in February compared to the previous months, with a 9% increase in cases recorded between January and February relative to a 20% increase between December and January.
While the number of daily reported cases have decreased since January, more than 50% of tests were coming back positive in As-Sweida and Tartous governorates and 60% in Homs governorate in January (OCHA 20/01/2021). This is likely due to testing, wherein only patients with severe conditions in hospitals and clinics are being tested.
With limited testing and accurate information from the government, the true scale is likely even greater (The Syria report 16/12/2020).