By Sami Zaptia.
London, 9 August 2021:
Libya has expanded its national vaccination drive in its two main population centres Tripoli and Benghazi and announced that its medical oxygen supply shortage is over.
The announcements were made over the extended weekend where a total lockdown announced by Prime Minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba was enforced over Saturday, Sunday and today Monday.
On Friday, the Health Ministry announced that the national vaccination campaign programme would be rolled out across all of Libya’s cities.
At the Sports City in Tripoli, it reported that 60 new vaccination stations are being prepared in record time, equipped with the latest approved international specifications and electronic technology at the level of North Africa. The Ministry said the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccination will be dispensed at the Sports City.
Equally in Benghazi, Health Minister Ali Zanati visited the the Suleiman Al-Darrat Complex in the Sports City, Benghazi, to determine the place’s readiness to become a vaccination centre.
The Ministry reported that the Minister instructed that the centre be equipped to the latest international standards, and as soon as possible.
Arrival of nearly 2 million Sinopharm doses last week
The expansion in Libya’s vaccination campaign comes after the arrival of the largest shipment of anti-Coronavirus vaccines at the beginning of this month, estimated at two million doses of the Chinese Sinopharma vaccine.
The oxygen supply crisis is over?
Meanwhile, yesterday, Health Minister Ali Zanati held a virtual meeting with the directors of Tripoli’s main hospitals to discuss the problem of medical oxygen supply.
The meeting reviewed the current situation of oxygen in terms of production, what was distributed, the efforts made to provide it to cover the shortage, and the possibility of providing hospitals with all means, whether by providing oxygen imported from Egypt or providing hospitals with urgent factories to cover their needs.
The commitment to investigate credibility when presenting information in the media was also emphasized.
The Minister assured the attendees that the oxygen crisis will be completely and radically overcome within three days.
Media scaremongering and exaggeration
On the other hand, the Director of the Ministry’s Medical Affairs Department, Taher Abdel Aziz, accused unnamed parties of spreading rumours about the death of people infected with Corona due to lack of oxygen in Zliten and Misrata.
He insisted that no injured person has died so far due to lack of oxygen or its availability despite the huge demand for it due to what he described as media exaggeration. He said a strategy for oxygen production and storage is being implemented.
He also pointed out that both the Coronavirus waves were dealt with without any shortages in oxygen supply. The oxygen storage capacity will be increased by three to four times across the country, he added.
More oxygen shipments arriving from Egypt
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the third shipment of liquified medical grade oxygen, estimated at 100,000 litres, arrived from Egypt.
The shipment is part of a Health Ministerial arrangement agreed on 20 April between Libya and Egypt regarding supplying Libya with liquefied medical oxygen, in response to Libya’s Coronavirus emergency.
Contrast with neighbour Tunisia
There was, however, some criticism on social media at least, of the speed of Libya’s vaccination rollout.
Libyans noted that while Libya has vaccinated 746,000 since 10 April when Libya’s vaccination campaign was launched with the Prime Minister and Health Minister being the first to be vaccinated in the country, neighbouring Tunisia announced Sunday that it had administered 551,008 vaccines in 335 walk-in centres across the country – on Sunday alone.
The latest Coronavirus cases and vaccinations
Meanwhile, the latest National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Coronavirus figures reported today read as follows:
|Total number of people vaccinated||764,233|
|Total number of Coronavirus cases||269,847|
|Total number of recovered cases||200,238|
|Total number of active cases||65,859|
|Total number of deaths||3,750|
|Total number of tests conducted over last 24 hours||7,809|
|Rate of infection||25.6 percent|