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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Doctors’ covid-19 death toll rises

Some 50 medical professionals have died from covid-19 in the past two weeks, the Doctors Syndicate noted in a letter to the Health Ministry, urging the ministry to speed up its inoculation of medical staff and frontline workers. The country kicked off its vaccination program with the most at-risk frontline healthcare workers in January. The syndicate also asked the ministry to ensure personal protective equipment is available for all frontline workers, pointing to the recent spike in infections and fatalities among them in the recent period.

So far, a total of 467 doctors and other medical professionals have died from covid-19 since since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.

The Health Ministry is looking to increase the capacity of its vaccine centers to accommodate 112k individuals per day, Minister Hala Zayed said at a cabinet meeting yesterday, according to a statement. The ministry is also working on setting up more vaccine centers across the country. We currently have 193 centers up and running nationwide, but Zayed has signaled that we could soon have as many as 350 operational vaccination centers.

The elderly can still register for a covid-19 vaccine offline, since some have complained that they aren’t able to access the ministry’s online portal, presidential health advisor Mohamed Awad Tag Eldin reminded viewers on eXtra News yesterday (watch, runtime 17:27).

Spotlight on oxygen supplies again? Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly ordered the Health Ministry to ensure it has at least 3 mn liters of medical-grade oxygen in its reserve stockpile, besides hospitals’ daily consumption. Some 30 oxygen generators will soon be distributed to the health and education ministries’ hospitals as of June, while the medical gas networks for 40 other hospitals are also getting an upgrade, Zayed said at yesterday’s meeting. The focus on ensuring adequate oxygen supplies comes after alleged shortages in several public hospitals earlier this year.

The Health Ministry reported 852 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 850 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 217,186 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 40 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 12,778.

Many of the world’s poorest countries are seeing their vaccine rollouts slow to a trickle as the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative falls short of expectations, writes the Wall Street Journal. This is in large part due to India — Covax’s main supplier — halting the export of the jab as it tries to meet the surging demand at home. The IMF has warned that the slow vaccine rollout in some regions of the developing world, such as in Sub Saharan Africa, threatens to overlook pockets of infection that could derail global efforts to eradicate covid 19.

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