Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Update No. 09 - 9 May 2020



• Number of people confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to have COVID-19: 47 (three fatalities, 29 recovered).

• Areas of concern: Densely populated areas, notably Damascus/Rural Damascus, Aleppo and Homs, and those living in camps and informal settlements in NES, collective shelters throughout the country, as well as other areas including Deir-Ez-Zor, and where hostilities may be ongoing making sample collection more challenging.

• Populations of concern: All groups are susceptible to the virus. However, the elderly (those 60 years and above) and people with underlying health conditions are particularly at risk; as are vulnerable refugee and IDP populations and healthcare workers with inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

• COVID-19 testing has now commenced at laboratories in Aleppo and Lattakia governorates.

• The enhancement of laboratory and case investigation capacity across Syria, including training of laboratory technicians and rapid response teams (RRTs) remains a priority, as does the timely communication of all information relevant to the safeguarding of public health. The UN has pledged its support to assist the MoH achieve its stated goal to have testing capacity in all 14 governorates.


The global situation remains highly fluid. However, at the time of writing, 3,855,812 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID19, including 265,862 deaths (CFR=6.9 per cent) had been reported globally. The United States has the most confirmed cases (1,245,874) and the most deaths to date (69,889). In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, more than 244,024 COVID19 cases have been reported, including 8,694 deaths, around 75 per cent of which occurred in Iran.
In Syria, 47 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported by the MoH to date: one case in Dar’a; 12 in Damascus; and 34 in Rural Damascus; with the most recent cases announced on 8 May. The first positive case was announced on 22 March, with the first fatality reported on 29 March, and subsequent fatalities reported on 30 March and 19 April. The MoH has also announced 29 recoveries.

On 16 April, WHO EMRO shared information indicating a 53-year-old man from Al-Hasakeh City who had been admitted to Qamishli National Hospital on 27 March had sadly died on 2 April. A COVID-19 test was reported as later testing positive.

On 29 April, authorities in NES announced they had detected two additional COVID-19 cases by testing through their own laboratory capacity. Further information available at the time of writing indicates that local authorities in NES have also confirmed an additional three cases through antibody (not PCR) testing, who have since recovered.

On 6 May, reports indicated that several Turkish police officers in Afrin had tested positive for COVID-19. At the time of writing, no official details had been released, however reports suggest the officers had been evacuated from Afrin to Turkey.

As of 8 May, according to the MoH, around 2,700 tests have been conducted by the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) in Damascus. It remains a priority to enhance laboratory and case investigation capacity across Syria, including training of laboratory technicians and rapid response teams (RRTs).


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