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Algeria: Doctors Fear Surge in Cases after Eased Restrictions in COVID-19 Epicenter

Algeria: Doctors Fear Surge in Cases after Eased Restrictions in COVID-19 Epicenter

Sunday, 26 April, 2020 - 08:45
An empty bus station during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Algiers (Reuters)

Doctors in Algeria have warned of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases after authorities ended a full lockdown in Blida province, the epicenter of the pandemic in the country, and eased restrictions in other provinces from the first day of the Ramadan month.

Cardiologist at Mustafa Pasha University Hospital and Hirak activist Salim Benkhedda said that the situation has been stable and the province saw a relative decline in cases after the lockdown. However, the doctor fears a rapid increase in cases in the coming days after people neglect all health restrictions and social distancing rules.

The epidemiological situation is unstable and the spread of the disease is still not accurately known, according to the doctor.

He urged citizens to abide to the preventive measures, such as washing hands constantly, maintaining social distance, wearing masks, and avoiding going out except for necessities.

Head of Epidemiology at Blida’s Frantz Fanon Hospital Abdulrazzak Bouamra expressed his concerns about ending the full lockdown in the province.

Speaking to press, Bouamra called for adhering to social distancing and wearing masks to avoid emergence of new cases. He explained that those who crowd the markets and public spaces will inevitably find themselves in hospitals.

Head of the Infectious Diseases Department at the Boufarik Public Hospital in Blida Mohmmed Yousfi also warned that all efforts to control the coronavirus could be wasted during Ramadan month if citizens do not respect the quarantine measures.

“It is dangerous, and whoever thinks we have overcome the epidemic is mistaken.”

Algeria’s Press Service (APS) quoted Yousfi as saying that 150 of the 300 treated with the chloroquine protocol patients had left the hospital after completely recovering.

Director of public health institute Ilyas Rahal asserted to the APS that chloroquine proved to be effective in treating coronavirus patients.

Rahal said that 21 percent of those infected with COVID-19 received treatment with this drug for a period ranging between 5 and 6 days, while 1.8 percent of them underwent it for a period of one to 5 days.

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