September 28 – October 04, 2020 | Press Review Algeria

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

October 04, 2020: Back to school, university and vocational training, The dates of resumption fixed

The dates for the start of the school, university and vocational training were set this Sunday at the Council of Ministers chaired by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Indeed, according to a communiqué of the Council of Ministers, as regards the start of the school year, primary school pupils will start going back to school from 21 October and middle school (CEM) and high school pupils will resume classes on 4 November next, taking into account the guarantee of school transport for pupils and the opening of school canteens, and this after consultation with social partners and associations of students’ parents.

The scientific committee, which has, in this context, all the prerogatives to examine and review the situation regarding the start of the school year, added the press release.

The same source also specified that the date of 15 October has been set for the start of the academic year in the vocational training sector, and the date of 22 November 2020 for the start of the university year, taking into consideration the imperatives related to the reorganization of the university halls of residence avoid overcrowding, especially in the lecture halls, in view of the health situation due to the spread of COVID-19.

With regard to the measures linked to the start of the school year, the communiqué emphasised the “strict observance of hygiene conditions in accordance with the sanitary protocol, taking into account the health of the students, being at the centre of all interests and priorities”.

The emphasis was also placed on the imperative of “disinfecting schools 72 hours before the start of the school year, with the wearing of masks for the secondary cycle”.

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

October 03, 2020: coronavirus vaccine – new releases of benbouzid

In a statement to the press, the Minister of Health, Professor Abderrahmane Benbouzid, said that “the authorities have prepared and budgeted for the acquisition of the coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19).
In the same statement, Professor Benbouzid stressed that “Algeria has joined a new system called covax, which brings together dozens of countries, and is working to allow the group purchase of better vaccine at the best price but also to ensure equitable distribution of future doses.

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

October 03, 2020 : Benbouzid calls for vigilance to avoid a second wave of COVID-19

The Minister of Health expressed his satisfaction with the marked improvement in the health situation in the country. He warned, however, against any laxity in the application of barrier measures.
“Algeria has won the battle against COVID-19”, the minister welcomed in a lively press briefing on the sidelines of his visit, before qualifying: “But vigilance is still required to avoid falling into a second wave. And to Mr. Benbouzid to call on the population “to remain aware and to continue to apply the barrier gestures to avoid a second wave”.

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

October 02, 2020 : Dr. Lyes Merabet – “There are more and more COVID-19 cases with minor symptomatology”.

Algeria continues its deconfinement with new measures that came into force Thursday, October 1. In this interview, Dr. Lyes Merabet, president of the SNPSP, discusses the decline of the epidemic and pleads for a new organization in the fight against COVID-19 in Algeria.
Containment relief measures for certain regions of Algeria were announced on Wednesday September 30 by the government, after a clear improvement of the epidemiological situation related to COVID-19.

As a public health practitioner, have you seen this decrease in the field?

Dr. Lyes Merabet, President of the National Union of Public Health Practitioners (Snpsp): Indeed, compared to what we experienced in July and August, the situation has clearly improved, we can’t say the opposite. In terms of figures linked to contaminations, I think we are a little above those announced, quite simply because there is still a screening problem. The observation we share is that there are more and more COVID-19 cases that present themselves with minor symptoms.

Were it possible to resume non-Covid activities in the hospitals?

It’s not as clear-cut. Nevertheless, we have to adapt to the situation with another organisation. In some hospitals, several Covid services have been opened. Then other services were called upon as cases increased. Given that the epidemiological situation is improving day by day, I think we need to review our strategy, either by dedicating a hospital in a district or a wilaya specifically to the management of COVID-19 cases, both for exploration, hospitalisation and follow-up and monitoring, including outpatient care.

At the same time, the other hospital activities, some of which were at a standstill and others only provided emergency care, were relaunched.

Do carers feel less pressure today than they did two months ago?

Absolutely. What is regrettable, however, is that the Ministry of Health has not yet decided, to send an instruction to health institutions to reopen the right to leave for health professionals. And why not prioritise some wilayas over others? I take the example of the wilaya of Blida, which was the first to be affected by the COVID-19 epidemic at the end of February and beginning of March. Health professionals have been under this pressure for months, I think it’s time for them to take a breather and go on leave.

What is the number of contaminations among the health workers?

It has not changed much and it is in line with the general situation which is improving in the country. There have been 93 deaths among medical staff between the public and private sectors, and if you count paramedics and other bodies, the total is around 128 deaths.

On the contamination side, the Ministry of Health has announced a figure of around 6,000 contaminated professionals. Honestly, I think we’ve surpassed that figure with at least 7,000 cases.

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

01 October, 2020: Prof. Bouzid’s reaction to medicine shortages and the fight against COVID-19,

Professor Kamel Bouzid, head of the oncology department at the Pierre and Marie Curie Centre (CPMC) in Algiers and president of the Algerian Society of Medical Oncology, denounced on Thursday the stock shortage of iterative drugs, saying it has been going on for the last four months.

“The drugs that are missing are methotrexate, 5 fu 5 fluorouracil, folinic acid, anthracyclines, doxorubicin, zorubicin, idarubicin … These drugs have been missing for four months,” said Professor Bouzid in a video interview with TSA.

“It is all the more unacceptable as these drugs are old generic drugs that are used to treat patients and children suffering from acute leukaemia, lymphomas, bone tumours… and above all allow them to be cured in two thirds of cases”, denounced the oncologist, whose anger is barely contained.

“These children who could be cured are going to die because of the imprudence of those who are in charge of providing us with medicines”, castigated Professor Bouzid. “The debate on the pharmaceutical industry is not our problem. Our problem is to get the drugs on time and in a sustainable manner,” said the head of the oncology department at CPMC.

Prof. Pr denounces that he does not understand anything about what is happening in the field of pharmaceuticals.

“I repeat that these drugs are very old, so we don’t understand what is happening. We ask x, he sends us back to y. We had only one minister, now we have three in charge of medication”, denounced Professor Bouzid.

Professor Kamel Bouzid also highlighted the major problem surrounding innovative therapies, which “are not just about immunotherapy, contrary to what those who advise the current ministers think”.

“Medicines brought back in shopping bags”.

“Innovative therapies are a set of drugs registered for three years that have never reached Algeria,” denounced the president of the Algerian Society of Medical Oncology, pointing to a “flagrant injustice. I write prescriptions for these drugs. People go to buy them in Morocco, it goes in the shopping bag at 6000 euros per cycle (it takes two cycles) and this is what is done throughout the country,” he also castigated.

Anti-COVID-19 fight: “huge anomalies”.

Moreover, Kamel Bouzid mentioned “several huge anomalies” that he has noted in the context of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. “As in any irrational phenomenon, we are witnessing so-called therapeutic proposals such as zinc and vitamin C,” noted the professor.

“I have never been told that zinc strengthens the immune system. Zinc is an element that exists naturally in the human organism but in very small quantities”, the oncologist was astonished.

“The risk with adding zinc everywhere in the name of no physiopathological basis is that we may obtain results that have not been proven anywhere but that in a year or a year and a half, these doses that have been multiplied by a thousand will cause major side effects”, warned Kamel Bouzid.

Prof. Bouzid also warned against the use of gloves by the public in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. “The wearing of gloves is formally counter-indicated outside the caretakers, and they must change gloves every time they change patients, and certainly not in the public domain. The novel coronavirus loves plastic, it sticks to it and it is the glove that contaminates”, says Professor Bouzid, recommending only that the mask be worn on the face.

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

October 01, 2020: The Algiers Metro will be managed by a subsidiary of EMA from November 1st

“The management of the Algiers metro will be entrusted to a 100% Algerian company,” Mr. Lazhar told the press, adding that the contract linking EMA to the foreign partner (RATP- El Djazaïr, a subsidiary of the French company RATP-Development) will end on 31 October.

On the occasion of an inspection visit of the works of the extension of the Algiers Metro on the East line, towards the Algiers International Airport, the minister put forward the national competences, assuring that “the foreign partnership undertaken within the framework of technical assistance in the operation of the project (during 8 years) had enabled the Algerian executives and engineers to acquire the required experience throughout these years”.

As for the resumption of transport activity by the Algiers metro, the minister said that it (resumption) would depend entirely on the health situation of the country and the decision of the Scientific Committee for monitoring the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this regard, he welcomed the preventive policy of the country which has made it possible to “stem the spread of the virus,” considering that “the situation is under control” compared to other countries in the region which are experiencing a worrying return of the pandemic.

Concerning the progress of the works for the extension of the Algiers metro, on the line linking El Harrach centre to the Algiers international airport, the project managers affirmed on the spot that the work is progressing well despite the sanitary situation that the country is going through.

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

October 01, 2020: Worrying re-emergence of malaria in the South

It is a real SOS that has just been launched by the deputies of the wilayas of the Great South after the spread of malaria. In a correspondence they sent on 24 September to the Prime Minister, the elected representatives mentioned the signs of a new health crisis likely to affect the border regions of In Guezzam and Tine Zaouatine in the wilaya of Tamanrasset and Bordj Badji-Mokhtar and Timiaouine in Adrar.

The document of which we have a copy sounds like a warning to the country’s high authorities. In less than a week, it is said, more than 1,000 cases of malaria have been counted.

A few days later, the Epidemiological Surveillance Committee of the Ministry of Health sounded the alarm. The Committee confirmed that 1,110 cases of malaria had been recorded, including 918 in Tamanrasset, 96 in Adrar and 89 in Illizi.

These figures, described as a record by specialists in infectious diseases, have not only given food for thought on this new epidemiological situation, but have also caused a veritable outburst on social networks, fuelling heated debates on the origin of this peak of infected patients.

Health professionals believe that this situation, which is partly due to the natural parameter of the heavy rainfall recently recorded in the two countries that have registered the appearance of the parasite, Niger and Mali in this case, is believed to be attributed to the large influx of sub-Saharans to Tamanrasset and the other affected wilayas.

In addition, people tend to underestimate this pathology, which is considered to be the primary etiology of death in sub-Saharan Africa. What is even more serious is the lack of awareness of this epidemic, which some nomads believe to be a simple seasonal flu.

According to the statistics in our possession, 5 deaths have been reported. But this is still worrying in view of the increasing number of contaminations which are imported either by Algerians who have left for Niger or Mali, or by nationals of these sub-Saharan regions who immigrate to Algeria.

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

September 30, 2020: Series of measures related to the health situation

“Pursuant to the instructions of the President of the Republic, Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister of National Defense, and following consultations with the scientific committee for monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the health authority, the Prime Minister, Mr. Abdelaziz Djerad, has decided, as part of the progressive and flexible approach adopted by the government in the management of the health crisis, the following measures:

  • The adaptation, according to the evolution of the health situation, of the list of wilayas concerned by the measure of partial confinement at home, which goes from 18 to 11 wilayas, as follows :
    The lifting of the measure of partial confinement at home for ten (10) wilayas where the health situation has clearly improved. These are the wilayas of Bouira, Tebessa, Médéa, Illizi, Boumerdes, El Tarf, Tindouf, Tipaza, Ain Defla and Relizane.
    The renewal, for a period of thirty (30) days from October 1, 2020, of the measure of partial confinement at home from 23h to the next day 06h in the morning, for eight (8) wilayas. These are the wilayas of Bejaia, Blida, Tlemcen, Tizi-Ouzou, Algiers, Jijel, Annaba and Oran.
    The application, for a period of thirty (30) days from October 1, 2020, of the measure of partial containment at home from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day for three (3) wilayas, recording an increase in cases of contamination, namely : Batna, Sétif and Constantine.
    However, the walis may, after agreement of the competent authorities, take all measures required by the health situation of each wilaya, including the establishment, modification or modulation of schedules, the measure of partial or total targeted home containment of one or more communes, localities or neighborhoods experiencing outbreaks of contamination.
  • The lifting of the measure banning public and private urban public transportation during weekends.
  • The maintenance of the measure prohibiting, throughout the national territory, any type of gathering of persons and family reunification, including the celebration of weddings and circumcision and other events.

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

September 29, 2020: Russian COVID-19 vaccine – Yasmine Moussous, 1st Algerian woman to receive a dose of the vaccine

Journalist Yasmine Moussous, who works for the news channel Russia Today (RT), is the first Algerian woman to receive the Russian vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In a video posted on Monday, September 29, on her Facebook account, the Moscow-based journalist gave news after receiving a dose of Sputnik V.
On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia has developed the first coronavirus vaccine, saying his daughter “participated in the experiment” by receiving one dose. “This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered,” Mr. Putin said. “I know that it is quite effective, that it gives long-lasting immunity,” he added. The vaccine was developed by the Nikolai Gamalaya Institute, a Moscow-based state research center for epidemiology and microbiology.

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

September 28, 2020: Infections at their lowest level for more than three months

The decline in the number of new daily cases of coronavirus continues in Algeria, with 146 new infections recorded in the last 24 hours, the lowest figure since June 22, according to the official report established on Monday, September 28.
Yesterday, 153 new cases of coronavirus had been recorded in Algeria.

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

September 28, 2020: Back to school 2021 in Algeria – Berkani’s suggestions

Speaking on the evening of September 27, the member of the Scientific Committee in charge of the monitoring and evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic in Algeria, Dr. Mohamed Bekkat Berkani said that “today the start of the school year 2021 remains difficult”. For him, it is still too early. “The return to normal life must follow a gradual process,” he said. As a “Scientific Committee, our role is to examine and validate the health protocols specific to each sector”, Berkani said.

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