By Sami Zaptia.
London, 9 September 2020:
The exponential spread of Libya’s Coronavirus cases continued as its National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced a further 879 new cases today.
This takes the country’s total to 20,462, with 17,809 active cases, 2,329 recoveries and 324 deaths.
Yesterday, mayors of the Municipalities of Tripoli called on the Faiez Serraj Tripoli government to officially declare that the epidemiological situation in Tripoli is bad and requires a declaration of an emergency in all health facilities in the capital.
In a withering eleven-point statement, the mayors condemned central government and the Health Ministry for numerous failures and areas of mismanagement. They stressed the need to enforce isolation between cities and regions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus outside the highly infested areas.
They also called for larger and more realistic budgets, the urgent appointment of a new Minister of Health, taking into account the standard of adequate expertise in the field of health, extensive experience in crisis management and the standard of integrity – away from quotas and regionalism.
The exponential rise in cases has raised alarm within Libya as well as with the World Health Organization and UNSMIL.
In her latest report on Libya to the UN Security Council on 2 September, UNSMIL head Stephanie Williams said ‘‘The immiseration of the Libyan people is further compounded by the debilitating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to be spiralling out of control. The number of confirmed cases has more than doubled in the last two weeks… as at 1 September.
Exponential increases are a worrying trend with community transmission now reported in some of Libya’s main cities, including Tripoli and Sebha. We are, however, looking at the problem through a keyhole, as persistent shortages in testing capabilities, adequate health care facilities and contact tracing mean that the true scale of the pandemic in Libya is likely to be much higher.
Handling of the pandemic is constrained by the fragmentation of health sector institutions, the extreme shortage of medical supplies and workers as well as a funding shortage. Nearing full collapse after more than nine years of conflict, the health care system is unable to respond to the additional weight placed by COVID-19 patients along with maintaining normal health services, including child immunization programmes’’.
Tripoli Municipalities call for declaration of a health emergency, city isolation, sacking of Health Minister