Libya announces first discovery of the South African Coronavirus variant

By Sami Zaptia.


London, 18 March 2021:

Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced yesterday that it has made the first discovery of cases of the South African Coronavirus variant.

It stated that ‘‘the discovery of the presence of these mutated species in Libya may explain the rapid spread of this pandemic and the serious exacerbation of the epidemiological situation and may be the reason for the high numbers of cases accompanied by serious complications that have led to an increase in the high death rate in recent weeks’’.

Speaking to Libyan media yesterday, NCDC head, Badr Al-Din Al-Najar, said the mutated South African strain may cause serious complications for those infected with the virus.

He said the epidemiological situation in Libya is worsening, and citizens must adhere more to preventive measures.

Al-Najar warned that the NCDC may demand a total shutdown due to the recent developments in the epidemiological situation as isolation centres are witnessing an acute shortage of oxygen, with its increasing demand for dangerous cases.

On 1 March, the NCDC – and partnering entities – launched an online anti-Coronavirus vaccination registration website in anticipation of the arrival of the country’s first vaccine batches.

Twelve million vaccines are expected to start arriving at the end of this month.

The vaccination will eventually be available to all those over 18, with the first phase reserved for health workers, the elderly and those with chronic diseases. The NCDC was keen to allay the fears of expats by stressing that all foreign residents would receive the vaccine.

Yesterday, the NCDC reported that Coronavirus cases in Libya had reached a total of 148,175 cases. Of these, 134,923 had recovered while 10,830. There have been 2,422 deaths since the outbreak.

The new Government of National Unity (GNU)

At a meeting on 11 March with Dr. Khalifa Al-Bakoush, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to Combat the Coronavirus Pandemic, and Al-Najar, the Prime Minister of the newly sworn-in GNU expressed his dissatisfaction with the reports he had seen regarding the budgets that were purportedly spent on dealing with the Corona pandemic without actual results on the ground.

He made it clear that managing the crisis in this way will not be acceptable going forward.


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