TUNISIA – Tunisia has recorded 9,823 new coronavirus cases and 134 deaths, a new record since the start of the pandemic, the health ministry has said, as concerns grow that the country will not be able to control the pandemic.
The total number of cases has climbed to around 465,000 and more than 15,700 deaths.
Tunisia’s health care system is collapsing due to the coronavirus, with intensive care departments full and doctors overburdened by a rapid outbreak of cases and deaths, the health ministry has reported.
“We are in a catastrophic situation, the health system collapsed, we can only find a bed in hospitals with great difficulty,” ministry spokesperson Nisaf Ben Alaya said.
“We are struggling to provide oxygen doctors are suffering from unprecedented fatigue,” she said, adding the boat is sinking and calling on all Tunisians to unite in efforts to combat the pandemic.
After successfully containing the virus in the first wave last year, Tunisia is grappling with a rise in infections. It imposed a lockdown in some cities since last week, but rejected a full national lockdown due to the economic crisis.
In reference to this, Libya’s new unity government has announced it was closing its borders with Tunisia for a week due to the rise in coronavirus cases in the neighboring country, a government spokesman said.
The decision came as a precautionary step to what the government described as worsening situation and collapsed health system, as well as the increasing number of cases with coronavirus delta variant in Tunisia.
“The Libyan state, through its consulate in Tunisia, will take care of its nationals stranded in Tunisia territory as a result of this decision until their return to the country is facilitated,” said Hamouda.
Many Libyans travel to Tunisia for medical treatment, but the number rose as the oil-rich country slid into chaos after the fall of former President Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
Libya has recorded 160,095 cases and 3227 deaths. The country’s National Centre for Disease Control said 413,883 of its about 6.5 million residents have been vaccinated.
As vaccination seems to take a better dimension, Zimbabwe has received 2 million COVID-19 vaccines from China’s Sinovac, its single largest shipment that it hopes will boost a vaccination campaign that had been slowed by shortages while infections and deaths rise.
The southern African nation imposed a dusk to dawn curfew and curbed the movement of people on June 29 in a bid to contain infections, which have since increased by 24% to 60,227.
More than 800,000 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, still far off from the government’s target of 10 million people by December.
Zimbabweans were initially reluctant to be vaccinated but as cases surged in the past two weeks, more people sought vaccines at centers in the country’s two largest cities but they had run out.
As of Thursday, 542 people were hospitalized, more than double the figure two weeks ago.
This shipment is in light of COVAX’s aim to deliver 520 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Africa this year, with supplies ramping up from September after delays caused by Indian export restrictions.
In early March, the CEO of vaccine alliance Gavi, one of the organizations co-leading COVAX, had said the aim was to supply Africa, whose total population is 1.3 billion, with 720 million doses in 2021.
By the end of the first quarter of 2022, COVAX aims to supply nearly 850 million vaccine doses to the African continent, which has some of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates worldwide.
This new target is enough to protect up to 30% of the population of every African country that qualifies for subsidized doses under COVAX’s so-called Advance Market Commitment.
African countries will receive doses from COVAX’s portfolio of nine vaccines, which, as well as AstraZeneca include shots developed by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.