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

Tunisia PM Sacks Health Minister over Handling of Covid Crisis

Tunisia PM Sacks Health Minister over Handling of Covid Crisis

Tuesday, 20 July, 2021 - 18:15
Tunisians working in the tourism industry receive a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine in Tunis on June 4. (Getty Images)

The Tunisian prime minister sacked on Tuesday the Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi, amid an exchange of accusations over performance in the fight against a COVID surge and the slow pace of the vaccination campaign.

A government statement said the minister of social affairs will serve as an acting minister of health.

Tunisia last week reported a daily record deaths from the virus.

The country has reported over 549,000 infections and 17,600 deaths, raising new concerns about its ability to fight the pandemic, with intensive care departments completely filled and a lack of oxygen supplies. The vaccination campaign is very slow.

The World Health Organization says that the daily death rate in Tunisia is the highest in Africa and the Arab world.

Tunisia health authorities have called the situation catastrophic.

Arab countries promised help earlier this month. Saudi Arabia launched a humanitarian air bridge last week to send vaccines and medical equipment.

A Qatari field hospital has already arrived and last week planes from Egypt, Algeria, the UAE and Turkey touched down loaded with urgent medical aid and vaccines.

Morocco said it will send 100 intensive care beds. France said it would send medical aid and about a million doses of vaccine to its former colony, while the United States also pledged 500,000 doses of vaccine.

Editor Picks