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Sunday, 25 April 2021

Talk shows on 25 April 2021: Zayed updates nation on covid third wave, vaccine rollout

Covid-19 dominated proceedings on the talk shows last night: Health Minister Hala Zayed gave an extended interview to El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 27:11), while Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi covered yesterday’s presser on the latest developments on vaccines and the third wave.

Some 5 mn doses of the Chinese Sinovac covid-19 vaccine will be locally produced within two months at the factories of state-owned Vacsera, before bringing the total to 40-60 mn per year, Zayed told Adib. The two joint manufacturing agreements Vacsera signed with China last week are for local manufacturing and technology transfer, she said.

The Health Ministry plans to launch mobile vaccination points in some neighborhoods, malls and metro stations, she said. The government will soon finish the mega clinics project in Cairo International Convention Centre to provide 10k-15k doses every day through 96 clinics, and similar projects will follow in Alexandria, Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta. We could soon have as many as 350 operational centers as part of a plan to accommodate 112k individuals per day.

Sputnik V vaccines to be available before year-end: The manufacturing of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine will begin by November and the first doses will be available in December, Wafik Bardissi, chairman and CEO of Minapharm, told Lamees El Hadidi’s Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 7:38). Minapharm last week announced that it would produce 40 mn doses of Sputnik per year. Egypt is still in negotiations to produce doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine through Vacsera, which will open in Sixth of October City with a production capacity of 40-60 mn doses per year, the minister told Adib. The country is also trying to speed up contracting procedures for 10 mn of the vaccine, the cabinet said in a statement.

Why the low vaccination rates among doctors? Osama Abdel Hay, secretary general of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, attributed the low rate of vaccination among medical staff to widespread worries over vaccines' safety, but he noted the debate is getting less tense (watch runtime 11:30). Zayed said yesterday that around 60% of the country’s medical workers have so far received a covid-19 vaccine. He also referred to late arrival of vaccines at some hospitals and issues in the registration system which dropped some registered names.

El Hadidi also highlighted increasing covid-19 cases amid relaxed measures including the return of Ramadan tents and shisha in many places (watch, runtime 4:36). She noted that this would lead to increasing pressure on hospitals. The government had recorded almost 65k breaches of the closing times by shops and restaurants during the period from 1 December 2020 to 23 April 2021, Local Development Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Kassem told the show (watch, runtime 4:50).

In non-covid coverage, MBZ’s visit to Cairo got attention: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit to Cairo also received coverage on El Hekaya last night (watch, runtime 11:03). Ittihadiya spokesperson described the Egyptian-UAE relations as “extended and deep,” highlighting the high-level cooperation in regional issues including Libya's. Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa had his own analysis of the visit (watch, runtime: 4:59 I 3:54).

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