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Fate of Chinese Medical Mission Stirs Controversy in Algeria

Fate of Chinese Medical Mission Stirs Controversy in Algeria

Monday, 30 March, 2020 - 10:30
A worker wearing a protective suit disinfects a bus station, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Algiers, Algeria March 16, 2020. (Reuters)
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa

A Chinese medical mission, which arrived in Algiers Friday, has stirred controversy because it has yet to head to the Blida Hospital, south of the capital, which has the largest number of people infected with the novel coronavirus.

The number of people infected with COVID-19 reached 511, with 31 deaths, according to Health Ministry figures on Sunday.

State television released Saturday images of the 12 Chinese doctors and eight nurses, accompanied Health Minister Abdel Rahman bin Bouzid, as they arrived at the Mustapha Pacha Hospital in the capital, which has reported the fewest virus cases.

Residents of Blida, especially the relatives of patients, were outraged by the visit as they were expecting the Chinese mission to head to their region where over 200 people are infected.

A wife of a patient being treated at Blida City Hospital, told Asharq Al-Awsat there was no excuse for the government’s delay in sending the Chinese doctors to the region.

“We urge the president to act immediately if he is concerned about the fate of our patients as he has repeatedly stated,” she said.

Activists on social media said the medical mission has been at the military hospital in Algiers for the past two days to treat infected military personnel. The Ministry of Defense usually issues statements to deny false claims related to it, even if they are released by anonymous sources, but it has yet to respond.

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