Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Update No. 01 - 2 March 2020

Situation Report
Originally published


This report is produced by OCHA Syria in collaboration with WHO Syria and humanitarian partners. The next report will be issued on or around 5 March 2020.


• Confirmed Cases: 0

• Suspected Cases: 5 (all tested negative for COVID-19)

• WHO global risk assessment: Very High

• Areas of concern: Damascus/Rural Damascus, densely populated areas and those experiencing hostilities where sample collection may be more challenging.

• Populations of concern: all groups are susceptible to the virus but the elderly and people with a travel history to countries/areas or territories reporting local transmission of COVID-19 are particularly at risk.

The basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections include the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.

  • Wash hands frequently, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.

  • Avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.

  • People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).

  • In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider.


Across 58 countries a total of 87,137 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, including 2,977 associated deaths (CFR=3.4 per cent), of which 104 are from outside China. In the past 72 hours, twelve countries have reported cases for the first time:
Azerbaijan, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Monaco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Qatar and San Marino.

In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 728 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, including 43 deaths. Iran represents 81 per cent of cases recorded in the region and all deaths. In total, 26 provinces (84 per cent) in Iran have reported cases of COVID-19 since 19 February with cases exported to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On 27 February, two Syrian nationals with a travel history to Iran were admitted to Mujtahid Hospital in Damascus and tested for COVID-19; both tested negative for the virus. To date, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has tested five cases for COVID-19, all of which were negative. As of 2 March, Cham Wings will suspend all flights between Iran and Syria.


The current focus of activities is preparedness and reinforcing existing stockpiles. In collaboration with WHO, the MoH has developed a national COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and agreed on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for detection and surveillance at points-of-entry into Syria such as airports and border-crossings. Some 20,000 travel history cards have also been developed and personal protective equipment (PPE), along with detection and surveillance devices, distributed to medical staff at points-of-entry. Communication and community engagement in order to prevent the spread of the virus is ongoing and starting 1 March WHO, in collaboration with MoH, will conduct five workshops on risk communication in four cities (Aleppo, Damascus, Hama and Lattakia) targeting information, education and communication (IEC) professionals.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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