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Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Teachers could get their covid-19 jabs in a month as total covid deaths in Egypt breaks 10k barrier

We marked a grim milestone in our battle against covid-19 overnight, with 56 new deaths bringing the official toll above to 10k barrier for the first time. A total of 10,050 Egyptians have now died of covid-19.

The Health Ministry also reported 613 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 611 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 174,426 confirmed cases of covid-19.

The second wave of vaccinations is kicking off here at home as the medical staff at the Abu Khalifa isolation hospital in Ismailia — where the vaccination program began last month — starting to receive their second doses of the Sinopharm jab yesterday, Youm7 reports. Medical teams at some 22 dedicated covid-19 hospitals nationwide have received an initial dose of the vaccine so far.

Next on the priority list for vaccines: Teachers and administrators within the education system, who could be getting their first doses within the next four to six weeks, Education Minister Tarek Shawki said. This timeline is contingent, however, on whether Egypt receives the vaccines it has ordered on schedule, the minister stressed (watch, runtime: 25:01). Prioritizing educators comes as Egypt’s schools and universities are gearing up to resume classes in the next few weeks, with public institutions set to go back to in-person learning, Shawki said at a presser earlier this week.

Taking stock of our vaccine shipment pipeline: We should be getting our hands on the first batch of a 5-8 mn dose order placed through the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme within the next two weeks, Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad had said earlier this month. China is also expected to deliver 300k doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, which Beijing is supplying as a gift to Egypt, before the end of February. Meanwhile, we’re still in talks to get our hands on (and potentially manufacture) Russia’s Sputnik V, and the government is also pursuing potentially securing doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Heading to Canada? You’re soon going to have to quarantine on arrival (at your own expense) for up to three days at a government-approved quarantine hotel while you wait for results of a PCR test on arrival. That’s in addition to having to show a negative PCR test prior to boarding your flight. You can check out the list of hotels here on Thursday. The new measures go into effect on 22 February.

South Korea has U-turned on its decision to use AstraZeneca's vaccine on seniors aged 65+ until more data proving its efficacy in the elderly becomes available, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) announced in a presser yesterday.

This comes amid an uptick in scepticism about the jab: German authorities have expressed doubts about its efficacy in people aged over 65, while South Africa last week ended its rollout after a study suggested it wouldn’t prevent hospitalizations caused by a local virus variant.

A two-dose administration of Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine prevented 94% of symptomatic covid-19 cases in Israel, confirming the effectiveness levels found in the vaccine’s clinical studies, Reuters reports. The data, gathered from 600k people in what was Israel’s largest study to date, also showed that participants were 92% less likely to develop severe symptoms.

Passenger numbers at Dubai’s airport plunged 70% last year to 25.9 mn, almost three-quarters of which came in 1Q2020 when travel remained unaffected by the pandemic, Bloomberg reported yesterday.

This was still better than some of Europe’s biggest airports: London’s Heathrow saw traffic slump 73% to 22.1 mn, while activity was down 81% in Frankfurt.

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