New Covid-19 case brings Libya’s total to 65, comprehensive screening launched – Libyan doctors sent to help Italy

By Sami Zaptia.


London, 19 May 2020:

Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced on Saturday a new case of Coronavirus/Covid-19. This brings Libya’s total cases to 65 with 28 recoveries and three deaths.

Comprehensive screening

On Saturday 16 May the NCDC had announced the launch of its comprehensive coronavirus screening starting Sunday. It will be recalled that on 2 May the WHO Libya office urged Libya’s health authorities to exercise caution in the face of the serious health threat posed by COVID-19 in the country.

“Now is not the time to reduce caution,” Elizabeth Hoff, WHO’s representative in Libya had said in the statement. “The low numbers reported should not fool us into a false sense of security. Libya is in the early stages of the epidemic and has not yet reached the height of infection. Until the test becomes more widespread, it will be impossible to ascertain the extent of the disease and its geographical spread.”

WHO went on to recommend that Libya’s health authorities increase testing capacity by establishing an additional laboratory in south Libya and expanding testing to include patients with influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory infections.

Hoff had said that while some countries in western Europe are seeing a stabilization or decline in numbers, others are beginning to see a resurgence of cases. Africa, at the beginning of the pandemic, is witnessing an upward trend, she had warned.

In this regard, the aim of Libya’s comprehensive screening is to determine the degree of the spread of the Coronavirus and make decisions about the extent of the curfew based on these results, the NCDC explained.

It said that the target groups of the first phase of screening include shelters for displaced persons, shops such as food, vegetables and fruits, bakeries, petrol stations, butchers, as well as conducting community surveys of families living in each home within the target municipality.

The first phase of the comprehensive medical survey was launched on Sunday in the municipalities of Busleem, Ain Zara, Sug Il Juma and Tajura. The rest of the municipalities will be screened in the second phase of the campaign. The south of Libya will also be screened, the NCDC said.

Libya sends doctors to Italy to help with Coronavirus

On Sunday, Libya dispatched 6 Libyan doctors from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport to Italy to provide medical assistance to Italy in response to the Corona pandemic. The NCDC said this was because Italy is the country most affected by the COFD-19 outbreak in the world.

It said that this step comes in coordination between the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs and the NCDC as a humanitarian response and medical assistance to the Italian state, as well as Libyan doctors gaining practical experience in dealing with Covid-19 infected patients.

The Libyan doctors will stay in hospitals in Italy for a month.

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