Second surge in COVID-19 cases in Northwest Syria likely as cases double in a month, warns World Vision

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Children playing with toys near their tent in Northwest Syria. Courtesy: World Vision Partners

SEATTLE (June 9, 2021) – International aid agency World Vision today warned that COVID-19 cases have doubled last month in Northwest Syria where only around 54,000 doses of vaccine1 have been administered in a population of over 4 million people. While countries around the world are racing to secure COVID-19 vaccines for their own people, only 0.3% of the administered vaccines globally have gone to people in low-income countries such as Syria.2 The NGO says that this is simply not enough, and that numerous lives are at stake if equitable access to vaccines is not provided for Syrian people in the coming months.

“In May alone, the number of positive cases in North West Syria increased reaching 1,558 with up to 100 new cases every day in the last week. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached 23,8623 in Northwest Syria, including 672 deaths – 7% of these inside camps for internally displaced people4. Syrian people, who have already been exposed to unimaginable trauma, are waiting for Western countries to show solidarity and support the COVAX Facility so low-income countries have access to vaccines. They are also waiting for the expected vaccine shipments to arrive without further delay but the second shipment is already delayed given the uncertainty of the UNSC cross border negotiations” said Johan Mooij, World Vision Syria Response Director.

“We are extremely concerned about the impact that the slow vaccination rollout will have on already critically vulnerable populations in Northwest Syria,” said Alexandra Matei, Advocacy and Communications Director, World Vision Syria Response. “The renewal date for the UN Security Council Resolution 2533 is fast approaching and its outcome will play a critical role in ensuring the provision of life-sustaining aid -including medicine and vaccines. The world cannot neglect Syrian people’s urgent need for COVID-19 vaccination.”

“The pledged COVID-19 vaccine supply to Northwest Syria would only cover a maximum of 20 percent of the population, and no vaccines are allocated to date to cover Northeast Syria areas where cases are increasing daily,” warns Mahmoud Homsi, Health Technical Advisor at World Vision Syria Response. “This must change – world leaders must remember that no one is safe until we are all safe, in the global battle against this pandemic. Vaccines are essential in order to curb the spread of the pandemic.”

With more than 2.7 million internally displaced people living in crowded camps and relying on an already strained healthcare system, World Vision says that vaccination rollout in Syria must be prioritized by the international community in order to avert a catastrophe especially as indiscriminate attacks continue to endanger children’s lives. “This morning, another attack took place in Northwest Syria targeting a tent where World Vision conducts non-formal education activities for 55 girls and boys. The deadly combination of the COVID-19 virus and the ongoing insecurity, means children are bearing the cost of this conflict. Fortunately, this happened before school started, but there are no guarantees this will not happen again”, adds Mooij.

World Vision calls on all sides to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law, and stop targeting educational facilities and civilian infrastructure as well as ensure the safety and protection of children.

  4. Northwest Syria Health Cluster dashboard, accessed 8 June 2021.

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.