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Monday, 17 May 2021

Covid restrictions could be extended

Longer “lockdown” possible as third wave’s “peak” approaches: The government could extend the series of measures it imposed for two weeks to curb the spread of covid-19, Al Shorouk reports, citing an unnamed government official. The restrictions, which include 9pm closing time on malls, restaurants, and cafes, are due to expire on Friday, 21 May. Egypt’s “third wave” is expected to peak early next week and the spike in cases is anticipated to continue through mid-June, by which time our daily covid-19 case count could double from current figures.

The Health Ministry reported 1,201 new covid-19 infections yesterday, on par with 1,203 the day before. The ministry also reported 58 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 14,327. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 245,721 confirmed cases of covid-19.

A 1.7 mn-dose batch of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccines from the Gavi / Covax program landed in Egypt over the weekend, bringing the total number of jabs delivered under the UN-backed scheme to around 2.55 mn, the Health Ministry said (watch, runtime: 4:30). The shipment, which is part of a 5 mn-dose batch that is promised to be delivered to Egypt, is the second delivery of a 40 mn-shot order Egypt placed with Covax, following the delivery of another 854k doses in April.

And we also received 500k doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine, as part of a 900k-shot shipment of the jab that is set to arrive during the month over two deliveries, the ministry said on Thursday (watch, runtime: 1:09). Egypt has an agreement with the company to supply 20 mn doses, and has so far received 680k.

Egypt has now received a total of 5 mn doses of various vaccines, the ministry said. That is enough to fully vaccinate 2.5% of the population, given almost all vaccines require two doses for full immunization against the virus.

Sinovac may be more effective than first thought: China’s Sinovac vaccine has proven to be highly effective at preventing covid-19 infection, death and hospitalization in a real-world clinical trial among health workers by the Indonesian Health Ministry, reports Bloomberg. The study’s data, which the Chinese vaccinemaker says it’s unaware of, found that participants were 98% protected against death due to the virus, while being 96% protected against hospitalization and 94% protected against symptomatic infection.

A study in Brazil earlier this year handed the shot a 50.4% efficacy rate, making it one of the least effective vaccines produced worldwide to combat covid-19. The World Health Organization is still uncertain about the vaccine’s efficacy due to lack of peer-reviewed data on its risk of serious adverse effects, but the possibility of its emergency use approval remains.

Egypt cleared the vaccine for emergency use last month, and will locally manufacture 2 mn doses by the end of June after signing an agreement with the company.

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