UNICEF expressed concern Tuesday over the rapid spread of the COVID-19 in Libya amid calls by Health Minister Ali Al-Zanati for the country’s 2021 budget to support efforts to confront the pandemic.
Libya reported 1,781 new daily cases of coronavirus in addition to 10 deaths in the past 24 hours. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the African country has reported 226,000 COVID-19 cases.
On Tuesday, UNICEF said Libya is witnessing an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases in the last 2 weeks where infections are at their peak.
“The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) recorded 6,061 new COVID cases on the 18th of July, the highest daily rate since the onset of the pandemic,” the UN agency wrote in a statement.
It said the virus is rapidly spreading across the country with a 270% increase in COVID-19 cases in the West, 480% in the South, and 50% in the East of the country.
AbdulKadir Musse, UNICEF Special Representative in Libya said: “We are alarmed at the rapid spread of the virus in the country. The vaccination rate is very low, and the spread is fast. We must be faster in our response.”
Musse also stressed that “the most important thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19, and the variants, is to ensure that everyone eligible will get vaccinated.”
In addition, he strongly urged all the people in Libya to wear masks, maintain physical distancing and wash hands frequently.
UNICEF said it is supporting the authorities and scaling up COVID-19 response, including supporting the rollout of national COVID-19 vaccination.
So far, UNICEF has delivered three batches of COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility. The vaccines are distributed to vaccination centers throughout the country in coordination with the national health authorities in Libya.
On Monday, Libya received a batch of 500,000 doses of Sputnik V anti-Coronavirus vaccines, the Health Ministry reported.