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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Qatar sends urgent Covid-19 aid to Tunisia as health system ‘collapses’


Tunisian health authorities have warned of a “catastrophe” in the battle against Covid-19.

A field hospital with 200 medics and 100 respirators have been sent to Tunisia where authorities on Friday recorded the highest daily Covid-19 death toll and warned of a “catastrophe”.

Two cargo military planes belonging to the Qatari Emiri Air Force were loaded at the Al-Udeid base on Friday before departing for Tunis, as part of ongoing efforts to help countries worldwide deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“This field hospital will be installed as soon as possible in the province of Ben Arous in the southern suburb of the capital in order to take care of Covid-19 patients and try to curb the spread of the pandemic in this region,” an official statement quoted the Secretary General of the government Walid Dhahbi as saying.

Tunisian ambassador Saad bin Nasser said the medical aid will help Tunisian authorities and solidifies close relations between Doha and Tunis.

Just a day earlier on Thursday, Tunisia passed a state of emergency bill as the country’s health ministry warned the health system has “collapsed” as Covid-19 rips through the North African nation.

Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi chaired a meeting to approve the bill, which allows the government to impose partial or general lockdown including limiting the movement of those suspected to be infected.

“The current health situation is catastrophic,” health ministry spokeswoman Nissaf Ben Alya said earlier this week.

“The number of cases has risen dramatically. Unfortunately, the health system has collapsed,” she added.

“The health situation will get worse if efforts are not united,” Ben Alya added.

In the past two weeks alone, hospitals across the country have recorded a major flood of patients with Covid-19 symptoms. So far, more than 480,000 cases have been recorded as well as more than 15,800 deaths.

The dire situation and appeals for urgent assistance prompted Arab leaders to pledge support for the North African country.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kuwait, Turkey and Algeria vowed to send medical assistance, including vaccines, to help authorities stamp out the second wave.

Qatar global efforts

Qatar has been extending a helping hand to countries across the world since the outbreak began by providing much-needed medical aid and vaccines.

In a recent initiative, Doha supplied Paraguay with the first batch of the 99,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine, with the aim to donate a total of 400,000 vaccines to the South American country.

Read also: Qatar to provide one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Pakistan

In April, Qatar announced a major $100 million initiative to vaccinate more than three million refugees and displaced people in 20 countries around the world.

Up to 3,650,000 of vulnerable populations, including internally displaced people and migrant communities are set be vaccinated as part of the campaign.

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