Posted on 3 June 2020

COVID-19 Emergency Situation Report 10 (19 May - 2 June 2020)

Highlights

  • 63 new COVID-19 cases; first death recorded in Gaza on 23 May. 
  • The State of Emergency declared across the oPt on 5 March has effectively ended.  
  • Revised Inter-Agency Response Plan for COVID-19 crisis is 60 per cent funded. 

630 57,688 23,000 US$42 M
People with COVID-19 Samples tested for COVID-19 People in quarantine request for Inter-Agency Response Plan

Situation Overview

As of 2 June, 630 Palestinians in total are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 in the oPt, with 63 new cases recorded during the reporting period. These include 179 cases in East Jerusalem,[1] a further 390 cases in the remainder of the West Bank, and 61 cases in the Gaza Strip. There are currently 98 active cases, with 527 cases recovered and five deaths reported since the start of the outbreak. The first death in Gaza occurred on 23 May, the first COVID-19 fatality recorded in the oPt since 20 April.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH), since the onset of the crisis, 57,688 laboratory samples have been tested. More than 22,990 Palestinians are in quarantine at home or in designated facilities, in order to monitor their symptoms and ensure the early detection of cases. The cumulative number of Palestinians in quarantine since the onset is 93,916. 

The MoH and the humanitarian community continue to address critical gaps in laboratory supplies and other medical equipment, including life-saving ventilators and essential Intensive Care Unit (ICU) equipment.

The State of Emergency across the oPt, originally declared on 5 March, has effectively ended, with banks, government ministries, shops, and public transportation networks reopening, following the announcement of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, on 25 May and the conclusion of the Muslim Eid al Fitr holiday. The Prime Minister attributed the relaxation to negative test results from the random testing carried out on Palestinian workers returning from Israel, and to a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases, generally, across the oPt.

Approximately 78,000 Palestinian students across the oPt started the twelfth grade exams, the Tawjihi, on 30 May.

Despite the requirement to maintain health measures and safety requirements, very limited adherence to regulations, including the usage of face masks, physical distancing and sanitation procedures, is reported in shops, restaurants and public spaces. Since the easing, additional cases have been detected in the West Bank; the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to encourage people to adhere to the recommended measures, including physical distancing and personal hygiene measures.

In its latest report, the World Bank is projecting a decline of at least 7.6 per cent in the economy of the oPt in 2020, “based on a gradual return to normality from the containment, and up to 11 per cent in the case of a slower recovery or further restrictions due to another outbreak.” In either case, the World Bank warns that “the reduction in per capita income and the rise in unemployment and poverty will be substantial.” The West Bank is expected to register a larger deterioration compared to in Gaza, due to a decline in income from Palestinian workers in Israel, and because the majority of the poorest in Gaza already rely on aid.

West Bank

There are 56 active cases in the West Bank, including 22 in East Jerusalem. In East Jerusalem, COVID-19 cases continue to be managed by the East Jerusalem Hospital Network (EJHN) and Israeli hospitals. The access of Palestinians holding West Bank IDs to East Jerusalem hospitals has remained severely restricted since early March, with only emergency cases and cancer patients granted permits, negatively impacting the hospitals’ operational capacity and financial situation. The Health Cluster is appealing to partners and the donor community to scale up support, so that the EJHN can continue to provide the specialized services unavailable elsewhere in the oPt.

On 31 May, the Israeli authorities opened designated terminals to permit Palestinian labourers with valid Israeliissued permits to return to work in Israel. However, Palestinian workers also continue to cross in both directions, through the informal breaches in the Barrier: movement through these openings is expected to increase, following the recent announcement by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which receives the permit applications from the workers, that it is ceasing all coordination with the Israeli authorities, to protest Israel’s intention to annex parts of the West Bank. These informal crossing points are also being utilized by farmers to access their land in the area behind the Barrier (the ‘Seam Zone’), due to the continuing revocation of permits and the failure to open agricultural gates in many governorates.

On 31 May, the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem reopened after a closure of 70 days, including the whole month of Ramadan, in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In the reporting period, tension has continued in the West Bank, with two Palestinians, including an unarmed man with special needs, killed. The high level of demolitions continued during the reporting period: citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 22 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, affecting 116 people. The self-demolition of a residential extension was also recorded in East Jerusalem, displacing two people.

Of continuing concern is settler violence during the emergency, with physical attacks against Palestinian farmers and their property continuing during the reporting period.

Gaza Strip

In Gaza, the first fatality from COVID-19 was reported on 23 May, an elderly woman with underlying medical conditions, who had been placed in quarantine in the Rafah Field Hospital following her return from Egypt. The number of active cases has also markedly increased from four to 42 during the reporting period: however, all the new cases were detected inside the quarantine centres, from among the Palestinians who returned to Gaza from Egypt during the last opening of the Rafah Crossing in mid-May.  Another 18 cases have recovered.

As of 01 June, more than 1,460 people are isolated in one of 14 operational quarantine centres. A total of 9,673 samples have been tested, including outside of Gaza

The Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) in Gaza reports that the situation in the quarantine centres remains stable with no major gaps or needs. Humanitarian partners have provided a wide range of non-food items, while the Qatari Reconstruction Committee continues to support the provision of food in the quarantine facilities.

As in the West Bank, restrictions have been lifted during the reporting period, with banks, shops, restaurants and mosques reopening, and little adherence to safety requirements observed.

The Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt remains closed in both directions. The movement of goods from Israel and Egypt has also continued as previously, including the entry of restricted (“dual use”) items via the Israelicontrolled Kerem Shalom Crossing. However, there is uncertainty regarding the exit of permit holders from Gaza via the Erez Crossing, particularly medical cases, following reports that the PA has ceased coordinating the exit of permit holders from Gaza through the Erez crossing, and is not receiving additional applications for exit permits, as part of the measures adopted in response to Israel’s annexation announcement.

Inter-Agency Response Plan

The revised version of the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Response Plan for the oPt which was released on 25 April, to support the efforts led by the Government of Palestine to contain the pandemic and mitigate its impact through the end of June 2020 requests $42.4 million to support immediate response to the COVID19 crisis.

As of 2 June, $24.7 million, or 58 per cent of the amount requested in the Response Plan has been raised.  Including resources mobilized outside the Response Plan, a total of $42.6 million has been raised to support COVID-19-related response activities in the oPt.

During the past two weeks, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has contributed $1.1 million towards the activities of the WASH and Protection Clusters. An additional contribution of more than $700,000 was provided by Japan for WASH related activities. Furthermore, Germany has increased its contribution by $158.000 for the Protection Cluster activities. Local and international NGOs also received additional funding from a variety of sources amounting to $898,000.

Humanitarian partners still require additional support to address the full scale of needs vulnerable people across the oPt targeted by the Response Plan.

Total funding for COVID-19 response by cluster (in Million US$)

COVID-19 response funding in the oPt (through and outside the Inter-Agency Response Plan) in US$

Cluster Response Plan Requirements (US$) Through the Response Plan (US$) Percentage of the Plan covered Outside the Response Plan (US$) Total (US$)
Education  1,203,000 806,000 67% 1,765,000 2,571,000
Food Security 11,781,726  6,414,328 54% 1,738,155  8,152,483
Health 19,106,615  11,377,052 59%  9,563,147  20,800,199
Protection  951,000  984,044 103% 252,863  1,236,907
Shelter & NFI  3,342,551  1,250,007 37%  2,698,500  3,948,507
WASH  6,055,240  4,707,829 78% 1,266,194 5,974,023
Total 42,440,132  25,399,259   60% 17,283,859 42,683,118

Total funding for COVID-19 response by donors

Donor Through the Response Plan Outside the Response Plan Total in US$
AECID 37,655 16,655 54,310
Austria    229,564  229,564
Canada 1,878,050   1,878,050
CERF 300,000   300,000
Denmark 34,440   34,440
DFID 1,100,000   1,100,000
ECHO 1,983,760 6,305,000* 8,288,760
Education Cannot Wait 555,000 1,550,000 2,105,000
EIHDR 22,000   22,000
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) 112,500   112,500
Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) 225,000   225,000
France 827,815   827,815
Germany 1,698,298   1,698,298
GIZ   43,000 43,000
Global Affairs Canada   106,050 106,050
Holland 30,543   30,543
Ireland (Irish Aid) 235,200   235,200
Islamic Relief Worldwide 91,400   91,400
Italian Agency for Development Cooperation [AICS] 150,340 10,970 161,310
Italy (IADC)   35,000 35,000
Japan 737,000   737,000
Jerrahi Order of America   40,000 40,000
Kuwait  747,500  8,252,500 9,000,000
NCA HQ, DCA  71,035   71,035
Norway 70,000 91,083 161,083
Nous Cims 54,310   54,310
NRC 20,200   20,200
OPT Humanitarian Fund 6,402,021 38,363 6,440,384 
Private Sector Fundraising 386,786   386,786
Save the Children 28,000   28,000
Secours Islamique France 79,407   79,407
Start Network / Start Fund - COVID-19 100,000   100,000
Sweden (SIDA) 500,000   500,000
Swiss Agency for Development and 

Cooperation “SDC”
800,000 268,000 1,068,000
UNESCO    150,000  150,000
UNICEF 792,000   792,000
UNWOMEN HQ 50,000   50,000
War Child Holland 207,000 85,000 292,000
WFP (loan) 5,000,000   5,000,000
Other sources** 72,000 17,977,483 134,674
Grand Total 24,662,259 17,283,859 42,683,118

* Attribution to the Inter-Agency COVID-19 Response Plane under verification. 

** Funding contributions below $20,000 including funding towards and outside Covid-19 Response Plan, received from: Action Aid, African Women Development Fund, Christian Aid, Global fund for women, Grass Roots, HEKS, Medico International, Mennonite Central Committee, Open Society Foundation, PHG, Qatar Red Crescent, Representative Office of Switzerland in Ramallah, UN Trust Fund, United Palestinian Appeal, WHO

Procurement of critical medical supplies by cluster partners

The Health Cluster continues to track the procurement and delivery of critical medical supplies by cluster partners against the immediate needs identified in the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Response Plan for the oPt. These needs are also in line with the PA National COVID-19 Response Plan, which was released by the Office of the Prime Minister on 26 March. 

As of 31 May 2020, gaps remain in procurement and the delivery of essential medical for case management of critical COVID-19 cases, such as medical ventilators, pulse oxymeters and ICU beds.  There is also a need for PPE to ensure the safety of frontline health workers, due to very limited availability of these items on local and international markets. Health Cluster partners, including WHO and UNICEF, are working through the Global COVID-19 Supply Chain System to secure this vital equipment for the oPt.  

The following tracker details the delivery of 10 selected key medical items only, as reported by Health Cluster partners in the oPt.  If you require a more detailed list, please contact the Health Cluster Coordination Team: asaparbekov@who.int and maroufm@who.int.  

For details of bilateral donations provided directly to the Ministry of Health and local health authorities, please refer to the PA Ministry of Health.

Medical item Needs “as 

identified in the response plan”
Delivered Pipeline/procured Balance
Ventilator, medical, adult/child 150 20 91 -39
Hospital Bed, for intensive care unit 150   96 -54
Patient Monitor, vital signs 150 14 102 -34
Oxygen concentrator, electric 150 15 80 -55
Patient bed  300 80 0 -220
Pulse oxymeter 200   12 -188
Mask, surgical (box of 50) 20,000 8,983 5,525 -5,492
Gloves, non-sterile (box of 100) 20,000 15,604 9,993 +5,597
Real-time PCR machine 3 1   -2
COVID-19 testing kit (primers and probes): 96 tests each 200 191   -9

Coordination

The Inter-Agency COVID-19 Task Force led by the Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator (HC/RC), as well as the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG), continue regularly meeting to follow up on the implementation of the InterAgency Response Plan. The HC/RC also informs the Palestinian authorities about the essential movements required by humanitarian and development staff during this period of enhanced movement restrictions, while following the already adopted Standard Operation Procedures. Where necessary, coordination with the Israeli authorities is also conducted to ensure the safe movement of staff.

As part of the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) plan, nearly 40 partners are distributing communications materials aimed at ensuring that the public has access to a broad range of information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A new supply portal has been launched on WHO’s global COVID-19 response coordination platform to support procurement. All partners are encouraged to subscribe and submit their requests for procurement of medical supplies for laboratory testing, case management and infection prevention and control through the portal.

Developments, concerns and funding status by cluster

Health

US$ 19,106,615 US$ 11,377,052 60% US$ 9,563,147 US$ 20,800,199
Funding requirements Through the Response Plan of the RP covered Outside Response plan Total Funding Received
  • Over 160,000 people have benefited from activities carried out by the Health Cluster during the reporting period. Nearly 130,000 people were reached with messages related to COVID-19 across the oPt, while 13,000 frontline health workers benefitted from full personal protective equipment (PPE). Some 5,700 test kits were delivered to the Gaza Strip, while 370 health staff in treatment and isolation facilities were trained on the case management of COVID-19 cases and infection prevention and control.  
  • Access to essential healthcare services continues to be negatively affected by the re-distribution of scarce health system resources for the COVID-19 response. Cluster partners have continued to support some 16,000 patients with non-communicable diseases (including cancer, malnutrition and other illnesses) who require emergency care.  
  • Local and global market delays, fluctuating prices and limited working hours of relevant authorities impede the procurement and delivery of essential items, posing operational challenges. Further challenges include: movement restrictions and lengthy quarantine of relevant staff; lack of access on the part of vulnerable groups, including pregnant and lactating women, to routine appointments for fear of contamination; restrictions on the entry of foreigners to the Gaza Strip, including international medical teams, which impede the deployment of expertise for service delivery and training activities.  
  • A reduction in the Ministry of Health’s referrals of patients from the Gaza Strip and the remainder of the West Bank to East Jerusalem hospitals, in the context of COVID-19, further undermined the financial situation of the Jerusalem hospitals. The Health Cluster calls on partners and the donor community to scale-up financial support to East Jerusalem hospitals to ensure the maintenance of specialized services unavailable elsewhere in the oPt.

Protection

US$ 951,000  US$ 984,044 103% US$ 252,863 US$ 373,000
Funding requirements Through the Response Plan of the RP covered Outside Response plan Total Funding Received
  • Cluster partners report an increase in cyber-abuse and blackmail against women and children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
  • Partners dealing with gender-based violence (GBV) report cases of women and girls with disabilities no longer benefitting from cash assistance provided by the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD). This has been interrupted, reportedly without any follow-up on their needs during the COVID-19 outbreak.  
  • Cases of child custody, alimony and divorce at Sharia courts remain frozen, undermining women’s access to justice. This is due to the continued partial, or full, closure of these courts in the context of the COVID19 restrictions. Reportedly, spouses/partners who fail to pay maintenance or alimony are not being served with jail time to enforce their obligations.

Education

US$ 1,203,000 US$ 806,000 67% US$ 1,765,000 US$ 2,571,000
Funding requirements Through the Response Plan of the RP covered Outside Response plan Total Funding Received
  • Education Cluster partners are working with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to ensure the protection of students who are taking the twelfth grade exams, the Tawjihi. Starting on 30 May, approximately 78,000 students across the oPt are sitting for the exams; 44,500 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 33,500 in the Gaza Strip. UNICEF procured hygiene and cleaning kits to be used in all exam centres and is supporting the printing and dissemination of infection and protection control materials. A decline in coordination between the Palestinian and Israeli authorities, has posed challenges to the delivery of thermometers and disinfection materials from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.  
  • Education Cluster partners continue to provide mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) to students, parents and teachers. Members of the MHPSS taskforce, supporting the MoE during the COVID-19 crisis, continue to provide remote services, while building the capacity of MoE counsellors. This support will continue throughout the summer, despite the academic year ending on 24 May.  
  • The Education Cluster, together with the MoE and its donors, is developing a framework for the reopening of schools, based on UNICEF, UNESCO and World Bank guidelines. It aims to identify children at risk of dropping out; convince parents to prioritize their return to education; prepare teachers to help them catch up on their learning; and adjust the education system to cope with the new environment.

Shelter & NFI

US$ 3,342,551 US$ 1,250,007 37% US$ 2,698,500 US$ 3,948,507
Funding requirements Through the Response Plan of the RP covered Outside Response plan Total Funding Received
  • Shelter Cluster partners continue their support to vulnerable people in quarantine facilities and inadequate shelters in the Gaza Strip. Cluster partners provided non-food items (NFIs) to all active quarantine facilities identified by the MoSD, following the return of over 1,160 people from Egypt.
  • Partners have completed the procurement of around 3,000 additional COVID-19 family hygiene kits for distribution to vulnerable households lacking proper hygiene facilities. The selection process of vulnerable families is ongoing.
  • More focus is to be placed on West Bank communities with new COVID-19 cases, including Beit Ula (Hebron) and Azzun Atma (Qalqiliya), including through the provision of cleaning and disinfestation materials and equipment. 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

US$ 6,055,240 US$ 4,707,829 78% US$ 1,266,194 US$ 5,974,023
Funding requirements Through the Response Plan of the RP covered Outside Response plan Total Funding Received
  • The WASH Cluster reached nearly 75,000 people during the reporting period. Four partners delivered over 25,000 bottles of water to quarantine facilities; nearly 12,000 vouchers for hygiene items to vulnerable families; desludging of 21 cesspits and septic tanks in the Gaza Strip; and four sanitized water coolers to health centres in the West Bank. 
  • The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) reported that the Israeli authorities decreased water supply to some Palestinian governorates in the West Bank, including Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin and Nablus. The WASH Cluster is assessing the decrease in supply and its impact on Palestinian communities. 
  • More than 60 per cent of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley are suffering from limited access to water. Out of 46 communities in this area, 28 fully or partially depend on expensive water trucking services to satisfy their minimum hygiene, domestic and drinking needs. The high price of trucked water, approx. NIS 30 NIS per cubic litre, undermine the ability of these communities to maintain proper hygiene practices.

Food Security

US$ 11,781,726 US$ 6,414,328 54% US$ 1,721,500 US$ 8,135,828
Funding requirements Through the Response Plan of the RP covered Outside Response plan Total Funding Received
  • Rural communities in the West Bank in need of more support. Communities from Jerusalem, Nablus and Hebron areas report needs related to additional food distribution, fodder for animals and cash assistance.  
  • Farmers report difficulties in accessing production inputs. Fodder prices remain high, while the quality of imported fodder is low. Shortages of, and high prices for, pesticides, fodder, hatchery eggs and fishingnets continue to place pressure on farmers and fishers. Some farmers report ceasing all farming activity.  
  • Low compliance with social distancing measures observed in the Gaza Strip. Crowds were reported in supermarkets coinciding with the first day of e-voucher top-up of some programmes.  
  • The agricultural market was further disrupted due to the heatwave. While some markets have resumed, the heat wave resulted in limited access to farms, as well as limited operating hours in some markets.  
  • The easing of movement restrictions has allowed the resumption of some agricultural activities. Relevant crops include zucchini, okra, thyme and apricots. Dairy production in the West Bank is showing signs of revival, as markets become more accessible.

For a detailed list of activities by cluster in both Gaza and the West Bank and for detailed maps of the Quarantine Centres please visit the COVID 19 Webpage found on the OCHA Website.  Please go to the OCHA Website:

OCHA COVID-19 dedicated webpage

Detailed list of activities by cluster


[1] The situation in East Jerusalem regarding COVID‐19 is being managed by the Israeli authorities.