06 – 13 September 2020 | Press Review Algeria

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

September 13, 2020: Concerns about the health status of journalist Khaled Drareni

During his appeal trial held last Tuesday at the Algiers court, journalist Khaled Drareni, sentenced to three years in prison, appeared “thinned” and “weakened” which raises concerns about his health. “Fearing that Drareni’s state of health will deteriorate and that he appeared very weakened at his appeal, the national and international support committees are launching a joint appeal to demand his immediate and unconditional release,” a statement published on Friday on the Facebook page of the Committee for the Release of Khaled Drareni and on the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) website said:

“The Algerian and international Khaled Drareni support committees jointly call on the Algerian authorities to come to their senses, to the law and to immediately and unconditionally release Khaled Drareni, whose state of health is becoming particularly worrying,” the statement added. “If the acquittal of the director of Kasbah Tribune is necessary since the first day, so many accusations against him are absurd, and his file is empty, it becomes urgent to put an end to judicial harassment of which he is the target, because the iniquitous procedure against him puts his health at risk,” it reads in the same statement.

The same source points out that “during his appeal trial which took place on 8 September in Algiers, the director of the online news site Casbah Tribune, and correspondent of TV5 Monde and RSF in Algeria” appeared very thin, but also very weakened. “The public prosecutor asked for four years in prison and a fine of 50,000 dinars during the appeal proceedings. On 10 August, Khaled Drareni was sentenced at first instance to three years in prison for “inciting unarmed gathering and undermining national unity”. The verdict will be handed down on 15 September. Drareni has been held since 29 March in Kolea prison near Algiers in difficult conditions.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 12, 2020: Bac 2020, more than 637,000 candidates expected on Sunday

More than 637,000 candidates are expected on Sunday for the Baccalaureate exams, September 2020 session, which will be spread over five days, while the results will be announced at the end of October.

The kick-off of this examination will be given from Annaba by Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad, accompanied by the Minister of National Education, Mohamed Ouadjaout.

The number of registered candidates, which amounts to 637,538, of which 413,870 are enrolled and 223,668 are free, will be supervised by 192,300 teachers spread over 2261 examination centres. There are 18 collection and coding centres.

The National Examinations and Competitive Examinations Office (ONEC) has devoted 18 centres to the operation of marking papers for which 48 000 teachers have been mobilised.

The subjects of the examination were limited to the classroom lessons given during the 1st and 2nd terms of the 2019-2020 school year, the Minister of Education reassured.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 12, 2020: CHAN 2022 (CAF): the 7th edition in Algeria postponed to 2023

The African Nations Football Championship CHAN-2022, a competition reserved for local players, initially scheduled from July 10 to August 1, 2022 in Algeria, has been postponed to January 2023, the African Confederation (CAF) announced Thursday.
This event has been postponed to January 2023 “subject to the approval of the Algerian Football Federation (FAF),” said CAF, whose executive committee met in ordinary session under the chairmanship of Ahmad Ahmad, by videoconference.
This delay of one year is largely explained by the postponement of the African Cup of Nations 2021 to January 2022 in Cameroon, because of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 11, 2020: Air Algeria – Last repatriation flight today

The national airline company Air Algerie proceeded this Friday, September 11, 2020 to the last flight of the 4th phase of the repatriation operation of Algerian nationals stranded abroad after the closure of borders because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spokesman of the company said in a statement.

Air Algerie had started, on August 26, the fourth phase of repatriation operations of Algerians stranded abroad and the third phase of repatriation operations had begun in early August.

Within the framework of this third phase, 13 trips had been scheduled, from 4 to 9 August, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Air Algerie is today one of the rare airlines not to have resumed its regular flights.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 10, 2020: A health protocol for the referendum on the revision of the Constitution

Validated by the Scientific Committee for monitoring the evolution of COVID-19 and signed jointly by ANIE and the Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform, this protocol sets out the stages governing the organisation of the referendum.

This organisation, which is essential in this exceptional health situation, concerns the ANIE headquarters, the seats of the wilayal and communal election committees, the voting centres, the mobile polling stations as well as the polling stations at the level of diplomatic and consular districts abroad.

According to the protocol, access to the interior of the office is only authorised for two or three people, and between 5 and 7 members to the working room, depending on its surface area.

It is also planned to organise special waiting lines for the elderly, chronically ill and people with special needs in order to facilitate the voting process.

As soon as the first phase of the protocol is launched, the public authorities will ensure the strict application of the preventive measures stipulated in the protocol, in addition to disinfecting vehicles, mobile polling stations and ballot boxes.

Four areas will be dedicated to voters from the presentation of identity to voting and signing.

For the counting of the votes, the members of the office in charge of this mission are required to wear gloves. Voters wishing to attend this operation will also have to wear masks and respect the other prevention measures..

After the vote, the organisers will see to the cleaning and sterilisation of the polling centres.

Several ministerial sectors will take part in the organisation of the referendum, namely Health, Interior, Education, Justice and Foreign Affairs.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 09, 2020: Commissioning of the PCR screening system

The Coronavirus PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) screening unit was put into service Wednesday at the 120-bed hospital in Adrar.

Speaking at the inauguration of this unit, the wali of Adrar, Larbi Bahloul, stressed the importance of taking all measures for an optimal exploitation of this device which is of great importance in bringing together and improving health services to patients in the region.

The wilaya chief executive also praised the efforts that have contributed to the acquisition of this unit which will facilitate, in support of the qualified medical corps, the realization in “record time” the results of tests after this operation took more than a week to transfer the samples to the Pasteur Institute of Algiers and the annex of Oran.

For further information, please consult (in French) the following link.

08 September, 2020: Nearly 100 deaths among health workers

The Minister of Health, Population and Hospital Reform, Mr. Abderrahmane Benbouzid said Tuesday that the health sector has registered nearly 100 deaths among its staff because of the pandemic of new coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The health sector has lost nearly 100 employees, contaminated by COVID-19 during their presence on the front line to take care of patients,” Benbouzid said in a statement to the press, citing the latest assessment of the ministry, on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of the health protocol for the organization of the referendum on the constitutional review scheduled for November 1, between the Independent National Authority for Elections (ANIE) and the Ministry of Health.

The spokesman of the scientific committee for monitoring the evolution of the pandemic of the new coronavirus, Dr. Djamel Fourar had stated in early August that 69 workers had lost their lives and 4025 others contaminated with COVID-19. Managers in the sector expressed their regret for the loss of this number of workers due to the “irresponsible” behaviour of some citizens who do not respect the rules of prevention, calling on citizens to comply with health rules after the reopening of mosques, beaches and leisure areas to prevent the spread of this pandemic.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 08, 2020: Dr Lyes Merabet calls for mass screening

The epidemic situation linked to COVID-19 is stabilising in Algeria, where the number of new cases of coronavirus has fallen below the 300 mark,” says the president of the National Union of Public Health Practitioners (SNPSP), Dr Lyes Merabet, who advocates massive screening.

“Indeed, it can be said that the situation is clearly improving. It has even stabilised for more than two weeks, when we have been on a downward curve. Even at the level of hospitals there is less pressure, both at the level of consultations, emergencies and even in the services dedicated to hospitalisations. There are even services that have been emptied”, Dr. Merabet explains to TSA.

But the improvement in the health situation does not mean the end of the epidemic. “It is still too early to say that the problem is behind us. I think that these data encourage us to be more in line with the barrier measures, and of course while accompanying this return to ‘normal’ with all the protocols that should be respected,” notes Dr Merabet.

“We should consider what is happening in other countries, such as in Europe, where schools are being closed after deconfinement and confinement, even in a limited way, after a rebound in contamination,” notes Dr Merabet.

The president of the Snpsp insists on the wearing of masks and recommends that screening be extended as far as possible. “We didn’t have the means to do this at the very beginning, and we are making the same observation six months later. We are still not at the required level,” Dr Merabet added.

For him, “the return to social life must be accompanied by screening on as large a scale as possible, in order to monitor changes in health indicators and act quickly. »

The President of the SNPSP notes that the COVID-19 virus is more contagious but its virulence seems to have diminished. “An increasing number of patients are showing mild symptoms that only require regular monitoring and surveillance, especially with respect to the home containment rule. But for the most part, these are patients who do not require any specific treatment. It is up to the researchers to determine how the virus has lost its virulence and dangerousness on the human body”, stresses Dr Merabet.

But an improvement in the health situation does not mean the end of the epidemic. “It is still too early to say that the problem is behind us. I think that these data encourage us to be more in line with the barrier measures, and of course while accompanying this return to “normal” with all the protocols that should be respected,” notes Dr Merabet.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 08, 2020: citizens called upon to respect the prevention measures

The Minister of Health, Population and Hospital Reform, Abderrahmane Benbouzid reported Tuesday in Algiers of a “relative stability” of the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus during the last three months compared to June when a significant increase had been recorded, calling on citizens to continue to respect the rules of prevention especially on the eve of the new social season.

In a statement to the press on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of the health protocol relating to the organisation and management of the referendum on the amendment of the Constitution scheduled for 1 November, Mr. Benbouzid called on citizens to “remain mobilised on the eve of the new social season”.

Referring to the relative decline in cases of infection with the new coronavirus, the sector’s chief executive attributed this epidemiological situation to “the awareness within society despite the behaviour of some citizens who have not respected the prevention measures in addition to the combined efforts of other sectors,” maintaining that society “must coexist with this virus to ensure a return to normalcy, especially with the advent of winter and the start of the social season.

He added that this stability in terms of the number of confirmed cases has had an impact on the occupancy rate of beds in hospitals, specifying that the number of beds occupied does not currently exceed 4,000 beds compared to the number mobilised by the public authorities (20,000 beds) throughout the national territory.

He also pointed out that the new law criminalizing attacks against staff in the sector and those who publish false images on hospital services has greatly contributed to the improvement of working conditions and thus to the preparation of the continuation of other medical activities”.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 08, 2020: Opening of borders in Algeria, towards the resumption of flights by country?

During an interview granted on September 8th to the French-speaking media TSA, Dr. Mohamed Bekkat Berkani, President of the National Council of the Medical Association and member of the National Commission for monitoring and follow-up of the evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic in Algeria, returned once again to the issue of the opening of the country’s borders and the resumption of flights and sea crossings.

Regarding the issue of reopening borders, “we have not yet been seized by the authorities,” confided the member of the Scientific Committee to our source, adding that so far nothing has been submitted to the Commission, “at least to my knowledge,” he stressed, before adding that it would intervene “perhaps in the coming days.

Berkani went on to reveal that “the health protocol relating to the referendum on the Constitution of 1 November 2020, which was examined on 3 September, was officially validated on Tuesday. Moreover, the speaker specified that the said protocol is the result of a joint work between the Independent Electoral Authority (ANIE) and the Ministry of Health, but also in collaboration with the Committee in charge of monitoring the contagion of Covid-19 at the national level.
Berkani suggests a gradual resumption of air and sea links

Arguing that the resumption of air and sea links should be gradual, the doctor acknowledged that Algeria cannot remain isolated from the rest of the world. Faced with this, Berkani recommended that the air and maritime companies should start drawing up a health protocol that they will submit to the Competent Entity.

According to the speaker, the ideal situation for Algeria would be to open up by country and perhaps by geographical region depending on the health situation that prevails there. This through conditions that would protect its population, he advised, recalling that the early suspension of air traffic to and from China and European countries at the beginning of the epidemic contributed to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

In addition, the member of the Scientific Commission reaffirmed that the decision to open the borders is the responsibility of the public authorities, in particular “the Government and the Presidency of the Republic”. As a reminder, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sabri Boukadoum, declared that the Government takes into consideration the recommendations of the Committee on all issues related to the management of the pandemic, and particularly the issue of reopening borders.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 06, 2020: Decreasing trend in the number of contaminations

Viral activity took an upward trend in the last week of August in the central region of the country with an increase in the number of contaminations in the wilayas of Blida, Tizi Ouzou, Algiers and Boumerdès.

In its latest study published at the end of the week, the National Institute of Public Health notes the continued decline in the number of coronavirus contaminations. The analysts of the INSP note that this decrease seems to be confirmed even after the deconfinement, last August 15, of shops, beaches and some mosques. The latest epidemiological counts confirm this downward trend for the fourth consecutive week. Contaminations, which more than a month ago exceeded the fateful figure of 600 cases per day, have finally fallen by half in the last few days.

The increase in the number of new contaminations recorded in the wilayas of Blida, Tizi Ouzou, Algiers, Boumerdès and Tipasa prompted an epidemiological analysis to understand the evolution of the curves of contaminations and incidence rates.

The wilaya of Tipasa, which still shows a low “growth” of new COVID-19 case reports, was concerned by this study. It should be noted that the region of Tipasa, which until last 31 August had 1,241 carriers of the virus, has an incidence rate of 169.30 per 100,000 inhabitants. On the other hand, the wilayas of Blida, Tizi Ouzou, Algiers and Boumerdès represent 47.8% of the total population of the Centre region and account for 57.5% of the region’s cumulative cases.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.