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Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Everything you need to know about covid at home and abroad on 5 January 2021

The Health Ministry reported 1,277 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 1,309 the day before. The ministry also reported 58 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 7,863. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 143,464 confirmed cases of covid-19.

A new initiative will see ministry officials travel to the hardest-hit areas of the country and test the oxygen levels of covid patients isolating at home, Youm7 reports. People with blood oxygen levels below 90% will be sent to hospital, Zayed said at a presser yesterday.

Covid-related deaths accounted for 3.3% of the country’s overall deaths last year, Zayed said (watch, runtime: 03:09). While the ministry’s official tally reports all known covid-19 cases, Egypt is like many other countries that only record around 10-15% of actual cases, as many people choose to get treated at home and do not report their infection. Some 85% of positive cases in Egypt don’t even realize that they are infected because they are asymptomatic, the minister noted.

Hospitals and clinics where the covid-19 vaccine will be administered are being whipped into shape ahead of the rollout of our national vaccination program, with Health Minister Hala Zayed issuing orders yesterday to get the Katameya Clinical Hospital prepared by tomorrow, according to a statement. The preparations include ensuring all medical equipment and vaccine refrigerators are functioning, and creating an automated system that links to the vaccine registration website and the ministry’s hotline. Regulators approved the emergency use of China’s Sinopharm 79%-effective vaccine earlier this week and the rollout is expected to begin sometime between the second and third weeks of January.

The Health Ministry will send medical teams to check oxygen supplies at hospitals and set up a new unit to monitor supplies nationwide, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

This comes a day after a video allegedly shot in a Sharqia hospital sparked outrage on social media: The video alleged that a shortage of oxygen in the hospital caused a number of covid patients to die, and seems to depict nurses struggling to keep people alive. Sharqia Governor Mamdouh Ghorab and Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed have both denied that the patients died due to insufficient oxygen supplies.

More than 16k cafes, stores, and restaurants were shut down for a week by the government for getting lax on covid-19 precautions, Assistant Local Development Minister Khaled Kassem said on the airwaves yesterday (watch, runtime: 7:33).

New lockdowns in Lebanon and the UK: Lebanon is going into a three-week lockdown and the UK will return to restrictions last seen in March as cases surge in both countries.

The world’s first shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in the UK, AP reports.

Moderna to accelerate vaccine production: The company now expects to produce 600 mn doses of its vaccine this year rather than 500 mn as it ramps up investment and hiring to boost production capacity. The EU is expected to make a decision on the vaccine this week.

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