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COVID-19 situation updates for week 1 (2 – 8 January 2022)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 1 January 2022, the global cumulative incidence reached 301 707 970 reported cases and 5 476 003 associated deaths with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 1.8%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 17 411 470 cases, which represent about 5.8% of the global count, with 317 234 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 (6 204 517 cases; 35.6% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (2 096 806; 12%) and Pakistan (1 304 058; 7.5%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (131 847; CFR 2.1%) followed by Pakistan (28 969; CFR 2.2%) and Tunisia (25 665; CFR 3.5%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (19.5%) followed by Sudan (6.9%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.23%), United Arab Emirates (0.28%) and Bahrain (0.48%).

During epidemiological week 1, the Region reported an increase in cases of 89.2% when compared to the previous week (206 980 cases compared to 109 395 cases). On the other hand, a decrease of 12.9% was observed for associated deaths (1053 deaths compared to 1209 deaths).

Qatar, Lebanon and Morocco reported the largest relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 1. The cumulative number of cases increased from 251 361 to 266 962 in Qatar (a 6.2% weekly increase), from 731 288 to 769 400 in Lebanon (a 5.2% weekly increase) and from 965 420 to 997 121 in Morocco (a 3.3% weekly increase). Lebanon, Jordan and Libya had the largest relative increase in deaths.

In terms of testing, a total of 300 983 202 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 5 958 402 tests in week 1, which shows a 7% increase compared to the previous week when 5 569 614 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (1114.7 million), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (42.7 million) and Saudi Arabia (34.2 million). The average positivity rate for the Region is 5.8%. 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 551 729 162. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 160 651 005, followed by Islamic Republic of Iran at 122 153 249 and Egypt at 58 836 189. On the other hand the total number of administrated doses in Sudan is 3 209 469, in Syria is 2 894 288, in Libya is 2 786 060, in Somalia is 1 504 914, in Yemen is 659 712 and in Djibouti is 133 933.*

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.