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Sunday, 30 May 2021

The oldest woman in Egypt got covid — and survived

A 101-year-old woman from Beheira, believed to be the oldest in Egypt, has recovered from covid-19 and has been released from hospital after her condition stabilized, Youm7 reports.

The Health Ministry reported 1,119 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 1,133 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 260,659 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 51 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 15,001.

Menoufia may have detected its first case of mucormycosis — the black fungus infection spreading worldwide among covid patients with weakened immune systems, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Governor Ibrahim Abu Limon said that a person suspected of having the disease has been quarantined and is undergoing tests in hospital. Egypt has so far identified two cases of black fungus.

France will help African countries develop the capacity to produce their own covid-19 vaccines to help bridge the gap in the availability of shots between African and developed markets, President Emmanuel Macron said at a presser on Friday with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria (watch, runtime: 54:38). Africa makes up around 20% of the world’s need for vaccines, but only 1% of vaccine production, Macron said. “Trying to lift the hurdles in order to allow vaccine production in South Africa and all of Africa, we are in favor of that,” he added.

This came as France pledged to contribute as many as 30 mn vaccine doses to the Gavi / Covax facility by year-end, in the efforts to assist struggling African countries fight covid. This will be part of a total of more than 100 mn doses that the European Union plans to deliver to the continent this year, Macron said, stressing that all rich countries with an excess of vaccines should not stockpile doses but provide them to other needy nations as quickly as possible.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated the need to suspend intellectual property rights on covid vaccines. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado Quesada called on the organization’s member states in a presser to support the “C-Tap scheme” (the covid-19 technology access pool) proposed last year, which would share IP and tech with developing countries and pay compensation to pharma companies. The renewed call comes a few weeks after the US offered backing for a separate vaccine patent waiver which received pushback from European countries.

The Covax program needs an additional USD 2 bn in funding by 2 June to lift its coverage in countries in which it operated to almost 30%, according to a joint statement from Covax and the WHO. The program has handed over 70 mn vaccine doses to 126 countries, but will face a shortage of 190 mn at the end of June because of the export ban by India’s Serum Institute — the program’s supplier of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine — as India struggles to cope with its outbreak. Covax can still deliver 2 bn doses of vaccines in 2021 and 1.8 bn doses to 92 lower-income economies by early 2022 if "the world’s leaders rally together," the statement added.

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