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Fears Mount in Algeria over Third Wave of COVID-19

Fears Mount in Algeria over Third Wave of COVID-19

Sunday, 18 April, 2021 - 09:45
A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Algeria in January. (AP)

The Algerian government has increased its warnings that the country would soon be grappling with a third wave of the coronavirus as people notably flout restrictions and infections continue to rise.

The latest statistics on the number of cases are “really worrying,” member of the Health Ministry’s Scientific Committee for Monitoring the Coronavirus Pandemic Dr. Riyad Mehdaoui told the country’s official radio station.

“We must do everything to avoid a third wave that is threatening the world,” he urged.

Mehdaoui pointed to the “very slow” inoculation pace compared to Europe, while ruling out re-imposing strict measures and a full lockdown and re-opening of the borders, which have been closed for over a year.

He stressed it is “impossible” to return to square one, urging the people to preserve the gains that have made throughout the previous year.

Algeria has in recent months been reporting less than 100 infections per day and two to four deaths. The country has confirmed over 120,000 cases.

Infections in recent days, however, have climbed to 200 per day, raising alarm among authorities.

The emergence of the new coronavirus variants, including those from the UK and Nigeria, has complicated the situation, Mehdaoui warned.

Regarding the vaccination campaign, he blamed the slow pace on the high demand for the jabs from manufacturing countries.

He pledged to bring in “significant quantities of various vaccines” late this month and in early May.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a medical source told Asharq Al-Awsat that only 15,000 people have received Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine so far even though Algeria had acquired 500,000 doses four months ago.

The source attributed this low figure to the poor organization of the inoculation drive, noting that most of those vaccinated were doctors, nurses and workers in COVID-19 hospital wards, along with few vulnerable citizens suffering from chronic diseases.

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