Libya: COVID-19 Flash Update No. 1 (30 March 2020)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As of 29 March 2020, there has been eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Libya.
  • Libya’s COVID-19 Health Sector Plan has been developed, appealing for US $12.5 million, targeting key hospitals and locations in all 22 districts, in six technical areas.
  • The most urgent needs include isolation units, personal protective equipment, lab reagent detection kits and training of health care workers.
  • Ongoing clashes and COVID-19 prevention measures are hampering humanitarian access, free movement of medical and humanitarian personnel and medical and humanitarian assistance across the country.

SITUATION

As of 29 March 2020, the Libyan National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported eight confirmed cases of COVID19 reported in Libya. There is a total of 112 suspected cases, 120 cases have been tested and 125 people have been placed into quarantine. Of the confirmed cases, six have been identified in Misrata and two in Tripoli.
Libya is at high risk of the spread of COVID-19 given its growing levels of insecurity, political fragmentation, weak health system and high numbers of migrants, refugees and IDPs. Libya is in its ninth year of instability and conflict. The Libyan health system was already over-stretched, under-resourced and unlikely to be able to respond to the pandemic.

Both national authorities in the West and East have implemented curfews – 14:00 to 07:00 in the West and 15:00 to 07:00 in the East – in addition to other prevention measures limiting the movement between municipalities and regions. Friday prayers and gatherings at mosques have been suspended until further notice, as have all major events and gatherings. All shops have been closed, except for those selling food and pharmacies. Schools have also been closed. Restrictions of some public transportation have been imposed.

All air, land and sea borders are closed, with exemptions for certain people and services. Additional restrictions are also reportedly being put in place at the sub-national level by municipal authorities. Points of entry (PoEs) to screen travelers arriving from affected areas have been established at three airports (Mitiga, Misrata and Benina), four sea ports and land border entry points at Ras Ijdier, Wazen and Msaed. Each PoE is coordinating with the NCDC’s International Health Control Office on the measures to be taken to detect suspected cases.

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

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