As of 7 July 2020, northwest Syria has still reported no confirmed cases of COVID-19. With no outbreak on the horizon and an ongoing humanitarian crisis only exacerbated by restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the impending epidemic, COVID-19 preventive measures were relaxed in the region. The risk of a COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a possibility, however, as cases in the rest of Syria continue to rise (as of 7 July 2020, 372 confirmed cases and 14 deaths) and many experts predict a second wave of global infections in the fall/winter of 2020/2021.
The Humanitarian Needs Assessment Programme's (HNAP) 18 May 2020 COVID-19 Rapid Assessment showed that all total curfews and all partial curfews except for one had ended in areas controlled by non-state and Turkish-backed armed forces (NSAG & TBAF). A community lockdown was still in place in one sub-district and public spaces were still closed in fifteen sub-districts. Awareness campaigns were in place in 30 sub-districts (out of 42), while temperature checks were in place in 26 sub-districts and distribution of soap/disinfectant/masks were available in 7 sub-districts. When looking at services that were available in sub-districts prior to the emergence of COVID-19, most basic services were available in most sub-districts, although public health services were only partially available in 29% of sub-districts and completely unavailable in 2% of sub-districts.
In April 2020, REACH began a series of monthly knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) surveys with the goal of informing the communications response to the threat of COVID-19 in northwest Syria. REACH observed high levels of COVID-19 knowledge among survey respondents in the first round of data collection, which was conducted in late April as communication efforts and curfews were well under way.
Greater wariness of COVID-19 was seen among attitudes and practices responses, especially among female respondents. In the second round of data collection, which was conducted in late May as restrictions lifted, knowledge remained high while attitudes and practices had shifted to less cautious in relation to COVID-19 among both female and male respondents.
Descriptive statistics are available here for each specific KAP indicator, disaggregated by governorate, sex, and rural/urban population. The present factsheet provides more in-depth analysis of changes in knowledge, attitudes, and practices over time and among cohorts of respondents in northwest Syria.