20 April 2022 – As of 16 April, the Eastern Mediterranean Region has reported almost 21.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and almost 342 000 deaths. Compared to last week, this week we saw a 21% decrease in the number of newly reported cases, and a 24% decrease in newly reported deaths. However, while the trends may seem encouraging, it is important to note that we have seen an increase in the number of new cases in 2 countries and an increase in deaths in 6 countries.
But even though deaths are decreasing to some of the lowest numbers since the start of the pandemic, transmission remains high, vaccination coverage remains low in several countries, and the relaxation of public health and social measures is still being widely observed, allowing continued transmission and the risk of new variants emerging.
In the coming months, our Region will host a number of important mass gathering events, including umra and hajj pilgrimages in Saudi Arabia and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Together with WHO headquarters and partners, we are working with authorities in these countries to make sure that systems are in place to protect millions of travellers from around the world and prevent further transmission of COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases. Additionally, as part of WHO’s mandate to promote health and well-being, we are working with FIFA and Qatar to use this global event as an opportunity to spread awareness on healthy lifestyles to all age groups around the world.
We continue to