The number of COVID-19 cases in North and East Syria since the start of the pandemic is now 8,313 cases. Of these cases, there have been 285 deaths. The number of cases continues to climb, and represents a dangerous acceleration in the transmission of the virus. International aid to ease the impact of the pandemic has been limited and the region remains underprepared to face the outbreak.
The latest numbers were released in a statement on Thursday, January 14, 2021, by Dr. Jiwan Mustafa, co-chair of the Health Authority of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).
In response to the new acceleration of the outbreak, the AANES expanded its preventative measures. Current stay-at-home guidelines have been issued from Tuesday, January 5, through Tuesday, January 19. Public markets are operating on limited hours. Guidelines have been issued advising all residents to wear masks and practice social distancing, and avoid public gatherings such as weddings and funerals. The Autonomous Civil Administrations in North and East Syria may further issue measures or guidelines, depending upon local conditions.
While officials in North and East Syria have been making every effort to report confirmed case numbers on a weekly basis, the number of cases in Syria as a whole remain unknown. This is due in large part to the Syrian government’s lack of transparency in reporting case numbers. North Press Agency reported, “The Syrian Ministry of Health reported a total of 8,580 infections as of December 9, while the UN Security Council recorded, based on reports from inside the country, at least 30,000 infections at the beginning December, and many say that the real numbers are likely to be higher.”
“The number of reported COVID-19 cases in Syria continues to rise, though limited testing in all parts of the country makes the extent of the outbreak impossible to assess with certainty,” said a briefing by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock to the UN Security Council on December 16, 2020.