COVID-19 slows but remains a threat
As of 30 November, there were 83,417 confirmed cases and 1,196 deaths. This is a 34 per cent increase in the number of confirmed cases reported as of October. While the overall number of cases has increased, the spread of transmission slowed in November, with 19 per cent less confirmed cases than in October.
Tripoli and Benghazi are classified as low intensity community transmission, while other locations are either classified as having clusters of cases or imported/sporadic cases. According to testing undertaken across the 27 laboratories operating in the country, Libya has 1,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population, which is the highest in the North African region, with 18.5 deaths per 100,000 population, which is second only to Tunisia in the region.
At a time when we need to focus efforts on combatting COVID-19, the continued closure of primary health care facilities due to shortages of health care workers, power cuts and lack of personal protective equipment affects not just the ability to effectively combat the virus but also for people to continue to access other essential health services.
Health partners continue to support the authorities in combatting the virus and mitigating its spread through provision of technical guidance and support, provision of essential medical and testing supplies, as well as personal protective equipment, and conducting training and capacity building to staff in health facilities and rapid response teams.
WHO has reported that mental health conditions have likely significantly increased across Libya, as a result of the protracted conflict, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic. They estimate that one in seven Libyans – approximately one million people – require mental health care support for conditions such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders. At present, only five cities (Tripoli, Bengahzi, Sebha, Ejdabia and Misrata) have mental health services. WHO will shortly begin implementing a two-year project to strengthen mental health services throughout the country.