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COVID-19: WHO EMRO Biweekly Situation Report #30 - Epi Weeks 5-6 (31 January-13 February 2021)

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• As of 13 February 2021, the Eastern Mediterranean Region reported 6,001,710 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 139,543 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The decreasing trend of new cases reported during the previous weeks was observed until Week 06 (07-13 Feb) when a 7.4% increase as compared to Week 05 was reported. Mortality trends have been gradually and systematically declining during Weeks 05 and 06 in line with the overall regional decreasing trend observed during the preceding 2 weeks.

• Except for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where the number of reported cases has slightly decreased, all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have reported a regular increase in cases. All GCC countries have also reported an increase in deaths. During the reporting period, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Sudan, and Tunisia reported a decrease in cases. After several weeks of stabilization or decrease in numbers of cases, Iran and Iraq are reporting a new increase in cases. However, the number of deaths is slightly decreasing in Iran.

• Seven countries and territory are implementing mandatory wearing of masks (Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, OPT, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates). Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are cancelling, closing, or restricting public gatherings outside homes. Qatar is cancelling / restricting mass gatherings. Kuwait, the occupied Palestinian territory, and United Arab Emirates are implementing school closures.

• The COVAX Facility has notified health authorities in the occupied Palestinian territory and Tunisia of their allocation of COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first wave of deliveries to countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

• Out of 15 EMR countries and territory that are reported to have conducted genome sequencing, 10 countries have reported the B.1.1.7 variants of concern: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, occupied Palestinian Territory, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE has also reported cases of the B.1.351 and B.1.1.28 variants