(Last update: 15 February 2021)

In response to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19, or 2019-nCoV) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and Lebanon, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is prioritising infection prevention and control, and the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers.

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We are responding through our teams and partners on the ground in the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon; supporting Ministries of Health, East Jerusalem NGO hospitals and Palestine Red Crescent Society hospitals. We are prioritising infection prevention and containment, providing hygiene kits to quarantined families, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers, COVID-19 testing kits and antiseptics/disinfectants to help prevent further spread of the disease.  MAP is also providing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) respirators and essential medicines and disposables to Gaza’s hospitals, to treat COVID-19 patients with severe breathing difficulties.

At all times, MAP’s response will be guided by priority lists provided by the World Health Organization and Ministries of Health, whilst our well-established local and regional procurement systems will ensure that essential items reach hospitals, primary healthcare centres and community partners as quickly as possible. 

Situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel

Currently there are 190,316 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and 2,128 deaths. In the West Bank 135,754 cases have been confirmed, including 21,664 in East Jerusalem. There have been 1,591 deaths in the West Bank. The southern governorate of Hebron has been hardest hit, with at least 28,422 confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to the World Health Organization. 

In Gaza 53,593 cases have been reported and sadly 537 deaths. A spike in coronavirus cases in December pushed Gaza’s health service close to collapse, and there continues to be a serious risk that the health system will reach capacity and become overwhelmed if there are further surges in the future. 

On 2 February, the Ministry of Health in the West Bank began its COVID-19 vaccination programme, after receiving 2,000 doses of Moderna vaccines and 10,000 Sputnik V vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, some 2,200 Palestinian health workers in intensive care units and COVID-19 designated centres have received their first dose of the vaccine. Coordination between the Ministry of Health in the West Bank and Gaza is taking place to arrange for the delivery of initial vaccine supplies to Gaza. Further vaccine shipments to the oPt are expected in the coming weeks.

Read MAP's position paper on vaccine access in Palestine

In Gaza and the West Bank all Palestinian citizens coming back from abroad are placed under a mandatory quarantine in quarantine centres. The latest local updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) are available on their website here.

There are currently 720,393 confirmed cases in Israel and 5,335 deaths. All travellers entering Israel, including Israeli nationals, must undergo 14 days of home quarantine. MAP has therefore suspended visiting medical missions to the West Bank and Gaza for this period. 

Situation in Lebanon

Currently there are 339,122 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lebanon and 3,993 deaths. UNRWA has reported that 4,891 Palestinian refugees have been confirmed COVID-19 positive and 173 Palestinians sadly died since the start of the outbreak in Lebanon on 21 February. On 7 January Lebanon began a 25-day lockdown after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

The latest local updates from the WHO are available on their website here.

MAP’s community midwives continue to provide essential care to expectant and new mothers and their new-born babies in Palestinian refugee camps. MAP has procured face masks, antiseptic lotions and gloves so the midwives can safely conduct individual health education sessions.

MAP has procured additional supplies of face masks and hand sanitiser for our midwives. They have also received hard copies of the WHO printed corona virus material and are reporting daily to our Maternal and Child Health centres and visiting beneficiaries in the camps as usual.

The latest global updates from the WHO are available here.

Travel and health advice

The latest travel advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding COVID-19 is available on their website here.

The WHO’s health and prevention advice to the public is available here, and advice from NHS England here.