Libya Enters Third COVID-19 Wave as vaccination strategy shifts
The COVID-19 situation further deteriorated across Libya demonstrating a sharp increase by 660 per cent from June in the number of confirmed cases, whereby the Ministry of Health declared a public health state of emergency as the country entered the third wave of the pandemic. A series of stringent restrictions were imposed across Libya, including a nightly curfew from 6pm to 6am, the suspension of all schools and universities, closure of borders, as well as the closing of summer resorts, parks, and public gardens. As of end July, there were a total 253,436 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 57,704 active cases and a total of 3,548 deaths since the pandemic began. Compared to June, there was a 95% increase in overall national testing: by regions, West (93% increase), South (197% increase) and East (83% increase), with 96.9% (175,794) of national testing performed in the West as compared to both East (only 2,116 tests) and South (only 3,567 tests) regions. The national positivity rate for July was 32.8%, mainly representative of the West due to higher testing rates in the region.
Libya continues to struggle to respond effectively to the pandemic, with isolation centres and case management facilities overwhelmed and facing shortages in medical personnel and supplies, such as oxygen masks, oxygen tanks, antibiotics, medicine, and N95 masks. The Government of Egypt has provided Libya with an extra supply of oxygen, donating 100,000 litres of much-needed oxygen supply.
As of the 25 July, Libya’s in-country stock of vaccines stands at over 1.3 million doses, with an additional 1.1 million doses expected to arrive between August and November through the COVAX facility. As of end July, 693,676 people have already received their first dose of the vaccine. The International Organization for Migration successfully conducted 98 outreach campaigns/ awareness raising sessions for 3,150 migrants/refugees, while advocacy campaigns by NCDC and UN partners are encouraging more people to get vaccinated. On 24 July, the Ministry of Health suspended the mandatory online registration for vaccination, thus facilitating easier access for the population. Prior to needing e-registration, by end June, some 925,842, including 5,120 non-Libyans were registered for the vaccine.