In September, 76 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported, 21 deaths and 155 recoveries, bringing the total number of reported cases to 2,038 with 588 deaths and 1,288 recoveries. The numbers of reported cases show a decline from 230 new cases reported in August and 570 new confirmed cases reported in July. Health partners remain concerned that under-reporting continues for various reasons and that the official epi-curve underestimates the extent of COVID-19 in Yemen.
Other factors that have had a negative impact on the COVID-19 response include a lack of adaptive behaviour by the population to reduce transmission, severe funding shortages for health workers and personal protective equipment (PPE) and long delays in importing COVID-19 response supplies. In order to pivot and improve the response, in September, partners continued working towards increasing surveillance; deploying dedicated COVID-19 staff within agencies; tracking the impact of the virus on routine priority health programmes; refining messaging to encourage behavioural change; and boosting intensive care unit (ICU) capacity. Work to expand screening and testing capabilities continued, including at points of entry. In addition, there was a focus on triaging COVID-19 cases at non-COVID-19 facilities; safeguarding heavily used parts of the public health system by providing allowances and covering key operational costs; identifying innovative ways of encouraging health-seeking behaviours; and improving data capacities by working closely with the authorities.
The humanitarian operating environment has slightly deteriorated since the beginning of the year and this has affected the COVID-19 response. Key contributory factors include bureaucratic impediments, interference by the authorities in humanitarian activities and movements, funding shortfalls and movement restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19.