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COVID-19 fortnightly update, 8 - 21 June 2020

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highlights

  • The UNRWA Health Department is leading on the Agency’s COVID-19 response and issues a one-page daily sitrep with the latest epidemiological figures.

  • The school year 2019/2020 has ended in all UNRWA Fields of Operations (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza Strip and the West Bank). The emphasis is now on planning for Catch Up and Back to School with ongoing meetings of all Chiefs and HQ, plus contributions to regional and national webinars on the issue as highlighted in the Partnerships section below. There is also emphasis on articulating and researching lessons learned during the shutdown period, including the overall Education in Emergencies (EiE) response, the specific areas of focus, for instance selflearning materials, psychosocial support, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), the findings of Agency-wide parent surveys on technological access, technology platforms and the forthcoming survey on the teachers’ support. Work has begun on the UNRWA Guide to Education in the COVID-19 context. This will draw on UNRWA lessons learned and the work of partners – UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE).

jordan Curfew, in place since 17 March, has been modified (12 midnight to 6 a.m.) but extended until further notice. Movement restrictions have been eased and many business sectors have resumed limited work. Mosques, churches and hospitality services were opened on 6 June. Schools, universities and colleges, cultural centres, wedding halls, public parks and other public facilities remain closed. All borders/ports (air, land, sea) remain closed. Since 21 June the Jordan field office and Amman HQ have been operating at a ceiling of 30 per cent of staff in the office.

west bank State of Emergency extended until 4 July. New access restrictions are in place in parts of the West Bank following a surge in confirmed cases. West Bank ID holders with valid international organization (Arbel) permits are permitted to enter Jerusalem/Israel. International staff are permitted to enter the West Bank without prior coordination, however staff holding Jerusalem IDs still require prior coordination to enter areas A&B.

gaza Israeli-controlled Erez crossing and Egyptian-controlled Rafah Terminal remain closed. Controlled entry is being facilitated for limited numbers of Gaza ID holders who must then enter 21 days’ quarantine. Gaza Field Office (GFO) has started a limited return to office-based work. syria The daily curfew and travel ban were lifted on 26 May. Public and private transportation services have resumed. Universities and institutions reopened on 31 May. All land borders remain closed and international commercial passenger flights remain suspended. A gradual return of UNRWA staff to their offices began on 3 May.

lebanon General closure and curfew from 12 p.m. to 5 a.m., with some essential services exempted, has been extended until at least 5 July. The Lebanon Field Office (LFO) initiated a 30 percent occupancy return-to-office schedule on 1 June.