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WHO EMRO COVID-19 situation updates for week 36 (5–11 September 2021)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 11

September 2021, the global cumulative incidence reached 223 176 177 reported cases and 4 605 354 associated deaths with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.1%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 15 205 042 cases, which represent about 6% of the global count, with 277 804 associated deaths (CFR 1.8%). 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 (5 275 567 cases; 34.7% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (1 947 211; 12.8%) and Pakistan (1 204 520; 7.9%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (113 824; CFR 2.2%) followed by Pakistan (26 720; CFR 2.2%) and Tunisia (24 244; CFR 3.5%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (18.8%) followed by Sudan (7.5%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.26%), United Arab Emirates (0.28%) and Bahrain (0.51%).

During epidemiological week 36, the Region reported a decrease in cases of 16.3% when compared to the previous week (316 448 cases compared to 377 836 cases). Similarly, a decrease of 7.9% was observed for associated deaths (6302 deaths compared to 6842 deaths).

Occupied Palestinian territory, Yemen, and Somalia reported a relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 36. The cumulative number of cases increased from 381 222 to 381 222 in occupied Palestinian territory (a 4.3% weekly increase), from 8056 to 8358 in Yemen (a 3.8% weekly increase) and from 17 726 to 18 373 in Somalia (a 3.7% weekly increase). Morocco, Islamic Republic of Iran and Yemen had the largest relative increase in deaths.

In terms of testing, a total of 220 824 006 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 4 828 101 tests in week 36, which shows an 4.2% decrease compared to the previous week when 5 041 057 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (77.9 million), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (30.1 million) and Saudi Arabia (28 million). The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are performing the highest rates of testing per capita (7803/1000 and 3508/1000, respectively). The average positivity rate for the Region is 6.9%. 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 240 791 410. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 67 342 288, followed by Saudi Arabia at 39 350 316 and Morocco at 36 271 200. On the other hand, the total number of administrated doses in Libya is 1 274 076, in Sudan is 1 129 054, in Syria is 403 254, in Yemen is 311 483, in Somalia is 310 005 and in Djibouti is 60 141.

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.

For more data from the Region, please visit the COVID-19 dashboard.

*The data on vaccination is obtained from a number of sources including media reports and country websites for ministries of health.