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COVID-19 situation updates for week 47 (21–27 November 2021)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 27 November 2021, the global cumulative incidence reached 260 126 535 reported cases and 5 190 127 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 16 752 621 cases, which represent about 6.4% of the global count, with 309 118 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 (6 105 101 cases; 36.4% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (2 079 084; 12.4%) and Pakistan (1 284 189; 7.7%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (129 549; CFR 2.1%) followed by Pakistan (28 709; CFR 2.2%) and Tunisia (25 363; CFR 3.5%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (19.5%) followed by Sudan (7.3%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.25%), United Arab Emirates (0.29%) and Bahrain (0.5%).

During epidemiological week 47, the Region reported a decrease in cases of 0.4% when compared to the previous week (93 431 cases compared to 93 769 cases). Similarly, a decrease of 8.8% was observed for associated deaths (1750 deaths compared to 1919 deaths).

Jordan, Sudan and Egypt reported a relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 47. The cumulative number of cases increased from 911 270 to 939 293 in Jordan (a 3.1% weekly increase) from 41 794 to 42 826 in Sudan (a 2.5% weekly increase) and from 349 513 to 355 767 in Egypt (a 1.8% weekly increase). Egypt, Jordan and Syrian Arab Republic had the largest relative increase in deaths.

In terms of testing, a total of 270 690 654 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 3 988 989 tests in week 47, which shows a 0.2% increase compared to the previous week when 3 979 543 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (100.5 million), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (38.4 million) and Saudi Arabia (31.1 million). The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are performing the highest rates of testing per capita (10 062/1000 and 4204/1000, respectively). The average positivity rate for the Region is 6.2%. 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 442 175 343. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 122 319 215, followed by Morocco at 48 719 196 and Saudi Arabia at 47 309 172. On the other hand the total number of administrated doses in Sudan is 2 698 219, in Libya is 2 291 638, in Somalia is 1 139 332, in Syria is 902 519, in Yemen is 759 220 and in Djibouti is 99 679.*

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.