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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Vacsera’s new facility to open November 2021

Vacsera’s new facility to manufacture covid vaccines is set to open at the end of November, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said during a visit to the factory yesterday. The plant, based in Sixth of October, will produce 3 mn doses every day, or 1 bn doses annually.

Vacsera aims to produce 15 mn doses of Egypt-made Sinovac jab this month, with an eye to rolling out as many as 40 mn shots by year’s end, Vacsera head Heba Waly told Al Hayah TV (watch, runtime: 6:37) last night. Vacsera is looking to produce 24k shots each hour, Waly told Salad El Balad TV (watch, runtime: 4:42). The Health Ministry began last week the roll out of the first 1 mn doses of the home-made shots, with plans to ramp up capacity to produce 15-18.5 mn each month, Health Minister Hala Zayed previously said.

An export hub for Africa? Madbouly reiterated Zayed’s statement last week that the factory aims to position Egypt as a vaccine-making hub for export to the rest of Africa. Among those vaccines will be one that is “recognized in 100% of countries” through a partnership with an unnamed Europe-based vaccine maker, Zayed said previously. Madbouly said that negotiations were at an advanced stage with a number of international companies on vaccine production, adding that he hoped an agreement would be reached by the time the factory becomes operational.

The Health Ministry reported 263 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 255 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 288,162 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 6 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,727.

IN GLOBAL COVID NEWS-

New South African variant shows worrying mutations: South African scientists have published a study on a new coronavirus variant known as C.1.2. First discovered in May in the South African provinces of Mpumalanga and Gauteng, home to Johannesburg and Pretoria, the new variant has now been detected in seven further countries. The scientists said its specific spike mutations resemble those of other troubling variants and could make it more transmissible and better at dodging antibodies, potentially rendering vaccines less effective.

Americans could lose their European vacations as the US has been removed from the EU’s “safe list” of countries amid a resurgence of covid-19 cases across the country, Reuters reports. While the guidance, which also now applies to Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia, is non-binding for EU 27-member nations, the European Union is set to encourage members to reinstate travel restrictions such as quarantine and PCR testing, especially for non-essential travel, for unvaccinated US visitors, EU officials tell the New York Times.

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