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COVID-19 situation updates for week 3 (16 - 22 January 2022)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 22 January 2022, the global cumulative incidence reached 344 730 103 reported cases and 5 579 465 associated deaths with a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of 1.6%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 18 249 381 cases, which represent about 5.3% of the global count, with 319 578 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 (6 245 346 cases; 34.2% of the Region’s total) followed by Iraq (2 149 306; 11.8%) and Pakistan (1 367 605; 7.5%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (132 202; CFR 2.1%) followed by Pakistan (29 097; CFR 2.1%) and Tunisia (25 988; CFR 3%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (18.8%) followed by Sudan (6.1%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.2%), United Arab Emirates (0.27%) and Bahrain (0.43%).

During epidemiological week 3, the Region reported an increase in cases of 37% when compared to the previous week (484 128 cases compared to 353 783 cases). Similarly, an increase of 16% was observed for associated deaths (1259 deaths compared to 1085 deaths).

Qatar, Tunisia and Bahrain reported the largest relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 3. The cumulative number of cases increased from 295 221 to 320 364 in Qatar (an 8.5% weekly increase), from 788 012 to 853 905 in Tunisia (an 8.4% weekly increase) and from 305 414 to 327 466 in Bahrain (a 7.2% weekly increase). Qatar, Libya and Lebanon had the largest relative increase in deaths.

In terms of testing, a total of 314 355 648 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including tests 7 411 139 in week 3, which shows a 24.3% increase compared to the previous week when 5 961 307 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (120.6 million), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (43.9 million) and Saudi Arabia (36.5 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 582 789 544. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 172 836 036, followed by Islamic Republic of Iran at 128 062 608 and Egypt at 63 630 482. On the other hand the total number of administrated doses in Sudan is 3 714 541, in Libya is 2 993 931, in Syria is 2 974 507, in Somalia is 1 610 500, in Yemen is 713 432 and in Djibouti is 147 166.*

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.