Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Update No. 10 - 16 May 2020

Situation Report
Originally published


This report is produced by OCHA Syria in Damascus in collaboration with WHO Syria and Damascus-based humanitarian partners, and does not reflect cross-border operations. The next report will be issued on or around 27 May 2020.


• Number of people confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to have COVID-19: 50 (three fatalities, 36 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, Homs and Lattakia governorates.

• The enhancement of laboratory and case investigation capacity across Syria 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, 4,396,392 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID19, including 300,441 deaths (CFR=6.8 per cent) had been reported globally. The United States has the most confirmed cases (1,382,362) and the most deaths to date (83,819). In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, more than 312,736 COVID19 cases have been reported, including 9,632 deaths, around 72 per cent of which occurred in Iran.

In Syria, 50 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported by the MoH to date: one case in Dar’a; 15 in Damascus; and 34 in Rural Damascus; with the most recent cases announced on 15 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 36 recoveries. Of the cases announced to date, 10 cases were imported, with 40 having no recent travel history. The average age is 45.1 years (ranging from 7 years to 75 years), with 50 per cent of cases over 50 years old. Three cases are below 10 years old. Further, when samples were collected, 63 per cent of the cases were symptomatic, with the remainder asymptomatic.

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 indicates that local authorities in NES have also confirmed an additional three cases through antibody (not PCR) testing, who had since recovered. One other additional case detected by PCR and antibody testing is also reported to have recovered.

As of 15 May, according to the MoH, around 3,350 tests have been conducted by the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) in Damascus, and an additional 44 tests by the public health laboratory in Aleppo, 22 in Lattakia and 30 in Homs.

It remains a priority to enhance laboratory and case investigation capacity across Syria, including training of laboratory technicians and rapid response teams (RRTs).

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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