Libya kicks off delayed COVID-19 vaccination drive

Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah receives shot on reside tv, urges Libyans to register on-line for their very own vaccinations.

Libya has launched its delayed COVID-19 vaccination drive, with Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, prime minister of the nation’s new unity authorities, getting his shot on reside tv.

Formally, Libya has registered a complete of about 167,000 coronavirus circumstances, together with greater than 2,800 deaths, out of a inhabitants of seven million. Its healthcare system has struggled to manage throughout the pandemic, strained by years of political turmoil and violence.

After the vaccination of Dbeibah on Saturday on the headquarters of Libya’s Centre for Illness Management on the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli, Well being Minister Ali al-Zenati was subsequent to obtain a jab.

Libya has up to now acquired 200,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, alongside greater than 57,600 AstraZeneca pictures, the latter delivered by the COVAX programme for decrease and middle-income nations.

Dbeibah urged fellow residents to register on-line for their very own vaccinations. He has earmarked the vaccination marketing campaign as a coverage precedence, alleging that the supply of the pictures was hindered by outgoing authorities.

“The arrival of vaccines has been delayed by political, not monetary, concerns,” he stated.

Dbeibah’s interim Authorities of Nationwide Unity was sworn in final month [Mahmud Turkia/AFP]

Dbeibah was chosen earlier this yr by a United Nations-sponsored Libyan dialogue to steer the nation to nationwide elections in December.

His authorities replaces two warring administrations based mostly in Tripoli and the nation’s east, the latter loyal to renegade navy commander Khalifa Hafar. The rival authorities have given their backing to the brand new administration, including to tentative hopes that Libya can exit a decade of disaster.

‘Higher late than by no means’

The World Well being Group stated on Thursday that two new variants of the coronavirus are current in Libya, which has these days been detecting about 1,000 new each day infections.

No lockdown measures are at the moment in place, and whereas masks are compulsory in public locations, the measure is extensively flouted.

“I really feel sorry that the vaccine arrived late in Libya after hundreds have been contaminated. However higher late than by no means,” store proprietor Ali al-Hadi informed Reuters information company, including that his spouse had been sick with COVID-19 and recovered.

Many Libyans concern the vaccination marketing campaign may very well be marred by political infighting or favouritism after years of unrest.

“We hope the well being ministry will steer away from political conflicts in order that providers can attain sufferers,” stated housewife Khawla Muhammad, 33.

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