Preliminary Survey to Understand the Epidemiology of COVID-19 and Its Socio-economic Impacts in Libya

Author(s): Abdusalam Sharef Abdusalam Mahmoud, Aziza Sulieman Mayouf, Ahlam Masaud Ellafi, Abdulgader Dhawi

Background: During the last three decades there are many viral infections emerging and re-emerge with high socio-economic and public health impacts worldwide. The Coronavirus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in China in late December 2019. Later, on 30th Jan 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has constituted the COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

Objectives: To understand the epidemiological patterns and assessing potential socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 is critical and how to determine these impacts on social life is considered fundamental. Therefore, the present preliminary survey was conducted firstly to understand the epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in the country, and secondly to determine the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 among Libyan population to build up strategies concerning socio-economic response by the technical team committee.

Materials and Methods: All relevant data regarding the epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in Libya was collected and interpreted. Regarding socioeconomic impacts, the questionnaire was designated and distributed online among the population in the period (April – May 2020) to determine the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 among society. The questionnaire was distributed and filled-in online. Unexpectedly, the total number of participants was relatively (141 participants). All the answers of the respondents were received through the electronic e-mail that linked with the software program (Monkey-Survey), and the obtained data was processed and analysed accordingly.

Results: The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Libya was estimated to be reported on 24th March 2020. The results revealed that, from 24th March to 22 April 2020, during 30 days, about (1181) samples screened by RT-PCR, the results revealed that (59), (1), and (15) confirmed cases, death, and recovered respectively. An average positivity rate of SARS -CoV-2 was estimated to be (13.92 %), while the case fatality ratio (CFR) was estimated to be (1.95 %). The socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 were estimated to be highly variable and were influenced by civil war around the capital city Tripoli since last April 2019 and could be as predisposing factors that worsen the situation by increasing impacts of COVID-19 in the country. In regards to impacts on the social relationship among relatives, the questionnaire survey was demonstrated that 29.78% not affected, (46.80%) affected and (23.40%) highly affected. Questionnaire survey revealed that (17.14%; 95% CI: 10.82%-23.22%) were belonging to the high-risk group to be infected by SARS-CoV-2. Questionnaire survey reported COVID-19 economic impacts of low impact (24.11%), relatively impacts (46.10%), highly impacts (19.85%) and no impacts (9.92%) among respondents. Regarding the job employments, only (5.05%) lost a job.

Conclusion: The epidemiological situation of the SARS-CoV-2 constant during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our pilot questionnaire survey makes a snapshot of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Libyan societies in different categories and degrees ranging from lower to high impacts that depend on the affected area. In spite, Libyan Authority adapted many strategies planned to combat the pandemic on a different level according to the criteria recommended by the WHO to fight against the COVID-19. Still, the country is facing many challenges in fighting coronavirus pandemic to prevent jeopardizing lives.

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