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WHO EMRO COVID-19 situation updates for week 22 (30 May - 5 June 2021)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 5 June 2021, the global cumulative incidence reached 172 247 729 reported cases and 3 709 487 associated deaths with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.2%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 10 284 428 cases, which represent about 6% of the global count, with 205 301 associated deaths (CFR 2%). Most countries in the Region are in the community transmission phase.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the country that has reported the highest number of total cases in the Region is Islamic Republic of Iran (2 960 751 cases; 28.8% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (1 221 678; 11.9%) and Pakistan (932 140; 9.1%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (80 941; CFR 2.7%) followed by Pakistan (21 265; CFR 2.3%) and Iraq (16 518; CFR 1.4%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (19.5%) followed by Sudan (7.5%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.3%), United Arab Emirates (0.3%) and Bahrain (0.4%).

During epidemiological week 22, the Region reported a decrease in cases of 4.9% when compared to the previous week (202 266 cases compared to 212 636 cases). Similarly, a decrease of 0.2% was observed for associated deaths (3519 deaths compared to 3526 deaths).

Afghanistan, Bahrain, and Oman reported a relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 22. The cumulative number of cases increased from 71 838 to 80 841 in Afghanistan (a 12.5% weekly increase), from 235 699 to 249 582 in Bahrain (a 5.9% weekly increase), and from 215 366 to 222 799 in Oman (a 3.5% weekly increase). Bahrain, Afghanistan and Oman had the largest relative increase in deaths.

In terms of testing, a total of 153 759 383 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 4 405 420 tests in week 22, which shows an 3% decrease compared to the previous week when 4 542 801 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (51.5 million), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (20.6 million) and Saudi Arabia (19.7 million). The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are performing the highest rates of testing per capita (5205/1000 and 2772/1000, respectively). The average positivity rate for the Region is 6.7%. WHO recommends a positivity rate of around 3–12% as a general benchmark indicating adequate testing, which was achieved in most countries of the Region.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccination continues across the Region. The total number of doses administered so far in the 22 countries is 71 684 870. Morocco has administered the highest number of doses at 15 380 193, followed by Saudi Arabia at 15 046 324 and United Arab Emirates at 13 347 300. On the other hand, the total number of administrated doses in Sudan is 402 114, in Libya is 243 891, in Somalia is 137 618, in Yemen is 104 070, in Syria is 24 781, and in Djibouti is 21 357.*

Supporting countries in the Region

The regional incident management support team continues to coordinate the response and provide technical support to countries and partners in the Region in the areas of coordination and partnership, surveillance, laboratory capacity, clinical management, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, points of entry according to the International Health Regulations (2005), research, health systems, and essential health services among others.