December 07 – 14, 2020 | Algeria Press Review

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

December 14, 2020

“There are about 300,000 irregular migrants in Algeria”

Before coming to Algeria in 2018 to head the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Algiers, Paolo Caputo had to assume the same mission in several countries, including Mozambique. He has also worked for other UN organisations, such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Bank.

Are all these migrants here to stay and work and settle or to continue on their way to Europe?

For this, there is not enough reliable data, but the dominant impression is that there are more and more migrants who want to settle in Algeria because of its economic potential and the chances of finding work.

You mean that Algeria has become a host country?

In our opinion and with the comments we gather from migrants every day, Algeria is becoming a destination country among all the other North African countries. This is due to the fact that Algeria offers work opportunities for many sub-Saharan migrants. Therefore, it is a country that remains attractive. This is no longer the case today for Libya, because of the war. Among our beneficiaries of voluntary returns, there are many who have stayed in Algeria for several years to work. This tells us that there is a large resident migrant population.

Do you have precise data?

There are only estimates. The Algerian government has indicated several times that there is a very large flow of migrants across the southern borders of the country, with 500 migrants entering every day. For us, there is a strong impression that a good part of the migrants come to settle in Algeria, and even those who had planned to continue in Europe, there are many who change their minds because they find conditions which, for them, are very interesting for finding a job and earning money which they can send to their families who have stayed in the countries of origin.

Of course, Algeria remains an informal destination country. From a legal point of view, the presence of the majority of these migrants is irregular. But this is the trend in all the countries that are gradually becoming countries of destination and which do not initially have a legal framework for this. That said, Algeria could put in place a legal framework since the country could benefit from the presence of these migrants for its economy.

According to a United Nations specialised body, there are approximately 300,000 irregular migrants in Algeria, but according to some estimates by associations and civil society organisations, there could be more than 500,000. However, there is no precise census. Compared to the number of the population in Algeria, this is not huge.

Has this flow stopped during this pandemic period?

It stopped for a short period. There was a time when the networks of smugglers, traffickers and migrants were blocked. I am talking about the period from April to May. But at certain points, inevitably, irregular immigration resumed at the beginning of the summer. In addition, and despite the pandemic, people need to work.

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

December 13, 2020

Prof. Kamel Djenouhat, President of the Algerian Society of Immunology: “Algeria does not have the means to acquire certain vaccines against COVID-19”

“You know that the Russians have stated that they are not accustomed to and do not have the capacity for large-scale production, and are therefore proposing, according to their ambassador’s statements, to establish partnership agreements for the production or packaging of the vaccine for possible more significant supplies, with certainly many advantages for the partner countries.

As for China, which has five potential vaccines that are cheap and do not require refrigeration at -70°C, they are produced by Chinese pharmaceutical giants experienced in mass production and this is an opportunity not to be missed to come to the rescue of countries that cannot manage to wrest away their quotas or that find the Western market too expensive, and there is talk of “China’s vaccine diplomacy”, a phenomenon dreaded by the West, as evidenced by the statement by Huang Yanzhong, senior global health researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations : “There is no doubt that China is practising vaccine diplomacy in an effort to repair its tarnished image. “So this is really a situation of supply and demand, where the strongest will prevail.”

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

Algeria: Will the coronavirus vaccine be compulsory? Benbouzid answers

Indeed, the subject of the coronavirus vaccine is still being brought up. The Minister of Health, Population and Hospital Reform, Abderrahmane Benbouzid, decided to make a statement on this subject on Friday, December 11 on the television channel Algeria 3. He then spoke about the coronavirus vaccine: will it be compulsory or not in Algeria? He wanted to reassure Algerian citizens that the vaccine will not be compulsory under any circumstances. It will remain a personal choice. That is to say, it will be a decision that each citizen will be able to make in his or her soul and conscience. The official specifies that at the very beginning of the vaccination, certain categories will be favoured. He mentions the nursing staff, the elderly and the chronically ill.

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

December 12, 2020

COVID-19’s diagnostic test price cap: The union of analysis laboratories cites a conflict of interest

The question is whether this aid, which comes nine months after the pandemic followed by a drop in prices by about ten laboratories, will be paid for by the Social Security funds or the Treasury?

The announcement made last Thursday by the Minister of Health, Abderrahmane Benbouzid, on the capping of prices of PCR tests at 8800 DA, antigenic test at 3600 DA, serology test at 2200 DA and the scanner at 7000 DA for the diagnosis of COVID-19, has raised concerns and questions within the biologists’ corporation.

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

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, convalescent from COVID-19, makes an appearance after two months of absence

The Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, appeared on public television on Sunday afternoon, December 13 for the first time since October 15 and his confinement in Algeria, then his hospitalization in Germany to be treated with COVID-19. […] While his prolonged absence had fuelled rumours and misinformation, the head of state promised to be back among Algerians “as soon as possible” in this speech on his Twitter account relayed by public television.

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

December 10, 2020

COVID-19 in Algeria: Here are the new prices for screening tests

“We will take the necessary and appropriate decision to choose the vaccine that offers certain guarantees,” said Mr. Djerad, on the sidelines of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 11 December 1960 demonstrations, in response to a question on the acquisition of the coronavirus vaccine.

Stressing, in this sense, the imperative to avoid any haste or random decision, the Prime Minister added: “when we take the decision, we owe 100% guarantees out of respect for our people and our citizens, and on the basis of the scientific work we have undertaken since the beginning of the pandemic.

He also said that this decision will be taken in collaboration with the Scientific Commission, in which he reiterated his confidence.

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

December 09, 2020

Shadow zones: Vaccination campaign against influenza and screening for COVID-19

A vaccination campaign against seasonal flu and screening for the Coronavirus (COVID-19), for the benefit of people living in landlocked areas in different parts of the country, was launched by the National People’s Army (ANP), a statement by the Ministry of National Defence said Wednesday.

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

Russian Sputnik V vaccine would cost 2430 DA

The Russian ambassador to Algeria, Igor Beliaev, announced today that the Sputnik V vaccine, which contains two doses, costs 18 dollars, or about 2430 Algerian dinars according to the official exchange rate, and 3240 dinars according to the parallel market exchange rate.

In a statement to Echourouk News, the ambassador confirmed that one of the advantages of the Russian vaccine is its price, which is $18 for the two doses.

And vaccination with Sputnik V requires the use of two doses of the vaccine, as its effectiveness exceeded 95% after 42 days of administration of the first dose.

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

December 08, 2020

Air Algérie: Suspension of fleet renewal due to COVID-19

The CEO of Air Algerie, Bekhouche Allache, recalled Monday before the Transport and Telecommunications Commission of the National People’s Assembly (APN), the “suspension” of the fleet renewal programme due to the economic fallout of the COVID -19 pandemic.

Mr. Bekhouche said the operation, approved by the Government in 2018, is suspended due to the latest developments, noted an AFN statement.

Regarding the opening of new international services, the CEO of the national campaign stressed that the opening of a new service required “in-depth” economic studies, and therefore, “the lines opened will remain those with strong competition, like France and Turkey.

Regarding the repercussions of the health crisis on the company, Mr. Bekhouche noted “the difficulty” of the current situation of Air Algeria, reporting losses of nearly 40 billion dinars since the suspension of commercial flights as part of prevention measures against the pandemic.

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

December 07, 2020

COVID-19 in Algeria: “Many of the cases treated are not declared”

Prof. Mohamed Belhocine is the president of the Epidemiological Investigation and Monitoring Unit. In this interview, he talks about the consequences of the non-reporting of COVID-19 cases detected in private laboratories on the spread of the coronavirus in Algeria.

All eyes are focused on the COVID vaccine. Is this the solution to this epidemic?

The COVID-19 vaccine is a hope for humanity in general, as the pandemic has had a rather catastrophic impact in different areas: health, economy, social and professional life… and to end this pandemic in one way or another is a hope.

When is the vaccination against COVID-19 in Algeria due?      

I cannot give you a precise answer, because (the process leading to vaccination) requires several elements that I do not have personally. Firstly, there must be international availability of the vaccine. Secondly, the vaccine(s) will have to be prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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

Resumption of Air Algeria flights: Sanhadji explains his position

The President of the National Health Security Agency, Prof. Kamel Sanhadji says that preserving the health of citizens is a priority. Therefore, Prof. Sanhadji believes that the opening of borders and the resumption of flights by Air Algeria is still an early decision, according to our source, the Arabic-speaking daily Elbilad.

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

Impact of COVID-19 on employment: The alarming figures of Louisa Hanoune

Louisa Hanoune warns of the consequences of the health crisis linked to COVID-19 on the Algerian economy. She points to the “anarchic containment” decided by the authorities to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has “destroyed what was left of the national economy”.

In an interview with the daily El Khabar, the SG of the Workers’ Party (PT) assures that “independent studies” have shown that, until last July, two million jobs were lost in Algeria, thus contradicting the figures of the Minister of Prospective who spoke of 500,000 jobs lost since the beginning of the health crisis.

“Out of 7 million full-time workers, about 3 million have been forced to stop working, 60% in the private sector and 35% in the public sector,” she said.

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

Resident doctors: Polemic around the DEMS review

“Doctors, especially resident doctors, are fighting an ongoing battle to contain the coronavirus epidemic, and their efforts are visible on the ground (…). Given these exceptional circumstances, which coincide with the preparations by resident doctors for the end-of-specialty exams (DEMS) (…) we ask for your excellence in order to intervene to exempt resident doctors from taking the DEMS, which is intended as a symbolic and formal examination (…)”, says Lakhdar Brahim, MSP deputy from Djelfa, in his letter to Abdelaziz Djerad.

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