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WHO EMRO | COVID-19 situation updates for week 38 (18-24 September 2022)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 24 September 2022, the global cumulative incidence reached 611 969 162 reported cases and 6 527 151 associated deaths at a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of 1.07%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 23 072 326 cases, representing about 3.77% of the global count, with 348 311 associated deaths (CFR 1.51%). 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 (7 546 673; 32.71% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (2 459 505; 10.66%) and Jordan (1 746 997; 7.57%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total COVID-19 associated deaths (144 382; CFR 1.91%), followed by Pakistan (30 612; CFR 1.95%) and Tunisia (29 249; CFR 2.55%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (18.07%), followed by Sudan (7.84%) and Syria (5.52%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by United Arab Emirates (0.23%), Bahrain (0.22) and Qatar (0.15%).

During epidemiological week 38, the Region reported a decrease in cases by 6% when compared to the previous week (21 370 cases compared to 22 736 cases). A decrease by 25% was also observed for associated deaths (139 deaths in the current week compared to 186 deaths in the previous week).

The weekly number of cases have decreased in all countries except in 5 out of 22 countries of the Region compared to the previous week. This week the number of COVID-19 associated deaths also decreased in all countries except in 2 out of 22 countries of the Region compared to the previous week.*

In terms of testing, a total of 430 484 308 laboratory tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 1 841 088 tests in week 38, which shows a 4% decrease as compared to the previous week when 1 927 299 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (189 493 076), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (54 051 142) and Saudi Arabia (44 285 464). The average positivity rate for the Region is 5.36%. WHO recommends a positivity rate of around 3% to 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 824 742 275. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 310 629 295, followed by Islamic Republic of Iran at 154 418 093 and Egypt at 98 424 374. On the other hand, Bahrain (3 470 619), Yemen (898 257) and Djibouti (256 545) administrated the lowest number of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the Region.**

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.

*Reporting on weekly relative difference instead of cumulative difference to better reflect the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic as we witness a decline in reported cases. This decline could be partially due to the change in the frequency and quality of data being shared by some countries as they moved to reporting through weekly aggregated data.

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