Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Palestinian PM Condemns Politicization, ‘Piracy’ of Vaccines

Palestinian PM Condemns Politicization, ‘Piracy’ of Vaccines

Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 - 10:15
A Palestinian health worker prepares a syringe as he treats COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Turmus Ayya, near Ramallah. (Reuters)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh criticized the politicization of the provision of coronavirus vaccines, describing it as “piracy.”

Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh warned that the problem of COVID-19 vaccines not reaching Palestine “is not in the provision of funds, but in the companies fulfilling their obligations.”

He noted there is “tremendous demand and limited supply” of the vaccine in Palestine.

“We have activated all our diplomatic, political, international and medical channels,” asserted Shtayyeh, adding that great progress has been made to obtain the shots, whether through donations from the COVAX global initiative, or those paid for by the government.

He hoped these efforts will result in the arrival of the first batch of vaccines soon, saying it will be possible to launch a national campaign for herd immunity to create a safe environment against the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Health spokesman, Kamal al-Shakhra announced that the actual number of coronavirus cases in Palestinian territories is actually double the recorded infections.

Palestinian authorities have registered more than 235,000 cases, 2,509 deaths and 212,688 recoveries, while they have only received 12,000 vaccine shots.

The government imposed a five-day lockdown in the West Bank, starting Monday, to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Shakhra told Voice of Palestine radio that Palestinian territories have witnessed a spike in cases, with 28 percent positive tests being confirmed in the past two weeks due to the wide spread of the British and African variants.

Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kailah announced Monday 2,298 new COVID-19 cases, 166 of which were recorded in Gaza, and 25 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Editor Picks