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Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Sputnik and J&J coming to Egypt as third wave washes over the nation

The Health Ministry reported 1,078 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 1,051 the day before. Yesterday’s daily case count is the highest since 7 January, when the ministry reported 1,219 new cases. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 230,713 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 62 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 13,531.

Third wave going strong: Egypt’s covid-19 case tally from last week is five times the number of cases recorded during the same week last year at the peak of the first wave, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a statement. The five governorates with the highest infection rates are Cairo, Giza, Minya, Fayoum, and Sohag, according to Zayed. Daily covid cases topped 1k last week for the first time since mid-January.

A total of 501 doctors have now died nationwide of complications from covid-19, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate said yesterday. The count stood at 467 doctors as of two weeks ago.

All-night Tahajjud prayers are banned across the country, while evening Taraweeh prayers will continue to be allowed, the Endowments Ministry said, according to Youm7. Imams who allow Tahajjud prayers risk dismissal, the ministry said.

Egypt has sufficient supplies of oxygen and medical equipment to treat the rising number of infections, said head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ pharma division head Ahmed El Ezaby, according to the local press.

VACCINE UPDATE- Sputnik incoming: Russia will send 10 mn doses of its Sputnik V jab to Egypt after signing a contract recently with the Health Ministry, spokesperson Khaled Megahed told Youm7. Costs for importing the Russian vaccine have been paid up in full, Megahed said, without disclosing a specific timeline to when the vaccines will land in Egypt or over how many shipments. Egyptian regulators earlier this year authorized the use of the Russian vaccine, which has reported a 92% efficacy rate. This is in addition to the 40 mn doses per year that local manufacturer Minapharm has agreed to produce starting later this year.

We should also be getting our hands on 4 mn doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in 4Q2021, according to Megahed. Presidential health advisor Mohamed Awad Tag Eldin said last week that a shipment of the single-dose jab will be received through the African Union, but didn’t mention through which mechanism they would be delivered.

Egypt will begin manufacturing China’s Sinovac jab next month, the Health Ministry’s Mohamed Abdel Fattah told Extra News (watch, runtime 3:24).

A total of 2.2 mn people have now registered to receive a covid-19 vaccine in Egypt, Megahed told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa yesterday, with some 80k individuals registering each day. The ministry has contacted around 1.5 mn of those who registered to receive their jabs, and some 900k individuals have been inoculated (watch, runtime: 3:50).

Did you miss your appointment? The ministry already allows you a three-day grace period to show up, but if you missed that window, you can reschedule your jab through the vaccination website or through the ministry’s hotline (15335), Assistant Health Minister Aysam Salah told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 18:41).

Could Egypt eventually be tapped to produce BioNTech jabs for Africa? BioNTech — the company behind the mRNA technology powering the Pfizer vaccine — is in talks to set up plants in Africa in a bid to boost supply to the continent, Bloomberg reports, quoting CEO Ugur Sahin. Most of the 2.5 bn doses pledged by BioNTech and Pfizer this year are going toward wealthy countries, while Africa lags behind.

Egypt, Senegal and South Africa are the only African countries with the capacities to produce vaccines, and most organizations in these countries can only package them rather than produce them from scratch.

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