COVID-19 situation updates for week 29 (17-23 August 2022)

The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 23 August 2022, the global cumulative incidence reached 566 631 276 reported cases and 6 390 389 associated deaths at a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of 1.13%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 22 501 358 cases, representing about 3.97% of the global count, with 344 595 associated deaths (CFR 1.53%). 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 (7 319 322; 32.53% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (2 427 884; 10.79%) and Jordan (1 709 879; 7.6%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total COVID-19 associated deaths (141 650; CFR 1.94%) followed by Pakistan (30 467; CFR 1.97%) and Tunisia (29 041; CFR 2.57%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (18.14%) followed by Sudan (7.87%) and Syria (5.62%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by United Arab Emirates (0.24%), Bahrain (0.23) and Qatar (0.17%) respectively.

During epidemiological week 29, the Region reported an increase in cases by 16% when compared to the previous week (164 378 cases compared to 141 306 cases). An increase by 39% was also observed for associated deaths (418 deaths in the current week compared to 301 deaths in the previous week).

The weekly number of cases have increased in almost all countries of the Region as compared to the previous week. The number of COVID-19-associated deaths increased in 9 out of 22 countries of the Region as compared to the previous week.*

In terms of testing, a total of 412 096 313 laboratory tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 2 549 836 tests in week 29, which shows a 20% increase as compared to the previous week when 2 127 071 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (175 628 480), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (52 994 458) and Saudi Arabia (43 789 900). The average positivity rate for the Region is 5.46%. 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 799 191 742. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses 298 381 219 followed by Islamic Republic of Iran at 152 120 956 and Egypt at 94 288 193. On the other hand, Somalia (3 344 579), Yemen (874 886) and Djibouti (226 829) administrated the lowest doses of COVID-19 vaccine 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.

*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.

Source: World Health Organization