The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 9 October 2021, the global cumulative incidence reached 236 890 977 reported cases and 4 835 800 associated deaths with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 15 971 917 cases, which represent about 6.1% of the global count, with 293 619 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 (5 691 634 cases; 35.6% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (2 022 109; 12.7%) and Pakistan (1 257 955; 7.9%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (122 370; CFR 2.1%) followed by Pakistan (28 106; CFR 2.2%) and Tunisia (25 028; CFR 3.5%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (19%) followed by Sudan (7.6%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.26%), United Arab Emirates (0.29%) and Bahrain (0.5%).
During epidemiological week 40, the Region reported a decrease in cases of 13.1% when compared to the previous week (143 780 cases compared to 165 453 cases). Similarly, a decrease of 15.1% was observed for associated deaths (2985 deaths compared to 3516 deaths).
Syrian Arab Republic, Somalia and Djibouti reported a relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 40. The cumulative number of cases increased from 34 696 to 36 713 in Syrian Arab Republic (a 5.8% weekly increase), from 19 980 to 20 900 in Somalia (a 4.6% weekly increase) and from 12 881 to 13 216 in Djibouti (a 2.6% weekly increase). Djibouti, Somalia and Syrian Arab Republic had the largest relative increase in deaths.
In terms of testing, a total of 239 573 994 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 4 489 954 tests in week 40, which shows a 2.2% decrease compared to the previous week when 4 592 934 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (84.7 million), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (33.1 million) and Saudi Arabia (29.3 million). United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are performing the highest rates of testing per capita (8675/1000 and 3764/1000, 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 327 670 260. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 89 719 686, followed by Saudi Arabia at 43 609 275 and Morocco at 43 120 000. On the other hand the total number of administrated doses in Sudan is 1 817 885, in Libya is 1 666 086, in Syria is 811 852, in Somalia is 542 501, in Yemen is 356 173 and in Djibouti is 92 097.*
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.