COVID-19 situation in Tunisia ‘catastrophic’ | News of coronavirus pandemic

The North African nation on Tuesday recorded 9,823 cases of coronavirus and 134 deaths, its worst daily number of viruses.

Tunisia’s health system has “collapsed” under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health ministry said Thursday, calling the virus’s impact on the country “catastrophic”.

On Tuesday alone, Tunisia recorded 9,823 cases and 134 deaths, its highest daily number of viruses. Hospitals in the North African country have seen a significant influx of patients over the past two weeks.

The country of 12 million people has suffered nearly 465,000 cases and 15,735 deaths.

“We are in a catastrophic situation … The health system has collapsed, we can only find a hospital bed with great difficulty,” said ministry spokesman Nisaf Ben Alaya.

“We are struggling to supply oxygen … Doctors are suffering from unprecedented fatigue,” he said, adding “the ship sinks” and called on all Tunisians to join in the efforts to fight the pandemic.

“The health situation is worse if efforts are not united,” he added.

Some bodies of COVID victims were left lying in rooms next to other patients for up to 24 hours because there were not enough staff to arrange their transfer to the overly stretched mortuaries.

Tunisian doctors are assisting patients amid a rise in new COVID-19 infections in the city of Kairouan [Fethi Belaid/AFP]

The Ministry of Health’s Facebook page said that the special hospitals created in recent months are no longer enough.

Since June 20, authorities have imposed a total blockade in six regions in Tunisia, including Kairouan, where the number of COVID cases has spiraled.

The Tunisian capital has been under partial closure since last week, with weekend closures from July 10 to prevent congestion on the beaches.

Across Tunisia, only 4 percent of the population received the two full doses of vaccine.

Cases growing in Africa

Coronavirus cases have been on the rise in Africa since the beginning of the third wave on the continent of May.

During the week ending July 4, more than 251,000 new COVID-19 cases were registered on the continent, a 20 percent increase over the previous week and a 12 percent increase from the previous January peak.

Sixteen African countries are now seeing a resurgence of the virus with the most contagious Delta strain detected in 10 of them.

South Africa is the hardest hit country in Africa with new daily infections hitting record highs of almost 26,000 over the weekend, spurred on by the Delta variant.

Vaccination rates remain slow with only 16 million people – 2 per cent of the African population – fully vaccinated.

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