The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 17 September 2022, the global cumulative incidence reached 608 804 714 reported cases and 6 516 488 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 23 049 848 cases, representing about 3.79% of the global count, with 348 172 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 (7 542 533; 32.72% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (2 459 178; 10.67%) and Jordan (1 745 032; 7.57%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total COVID-19 associated deaths (144 287; CFR 1.91%), followed by Pakistan (30 606; CFR 1.95 %) and Tunisia (29 246; CFR 2.55%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (18.06%), followed by Sudan (7.84%) and Syria (5.53%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by United Arab Emirates (0.23%), Bahrain (0.22) and Qatar (0.15%).
During epidemiological week 37, the Region reported a decrease in cases by 11% when compared to the previous week (22 265 cases compared to 24 902 cases). A decrease by 28% was also observed for associated deaths (186 deaths in the current week compared to 258 deaths in the previous week).
The weekly number of cases have decreased in all countries except in 4 out of 22 countries in the Region compared to the previous week. This week the number of COVID-19 associated deaths also decreased in all countries except in 3 out of 22 countries of the Region compared to the previous week.*
In terms of testing, a total of 428 620 265 laboratory tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 1 921 244 tests in week 37, which shows a 3% increase compared to the previous week when 1 874 194 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (187 995 494), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (53 978 439) and Saudi Arabia (44 240 109). The average positivity rate for the Region is 5.38%. 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 821 037 305. Pakistan has administered the highest number of doses at 307 354 160, followed by Islamic Republic of Iran at 153 956 137 and Egypt at 98 019 706. On the other hand, Bahrain (3 468 872), Yemen (898 257) and Djibouti (246 459) administrated the lowest number of COVID-19 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.
*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.
Source: World Health Organization