January 11 -18, 2021 | Algeria Press Review

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January 18, 2020

Entry of Algerians on French territory: PCR tests and a declaration on honour are mandatory

“Any international travel – from abroad to France and from France to abroad – is totally and strictly discouraged until further notice,” the French embassy in Algiers said in a statement made public yesterday on its official Facebook page. But, the press release also reads, when a “displacement for compelling reasons is nevertheless necessary, it is advisable to respect reinforced sanitary conditions in order to limit the spread of the virus”.

Passengers departing from Algiers, whatever the means of transport chosen, are required to “present at boarding the result of a virological screening biological examination (RT-PCR test) carried out less than 72 hours before departure (the departure of the first flight in the case of a connecting flight) which does not conclude to contamination by COVID-19”.

The same source also states that “antigenic tests are no longer allowed”. In addition, travellers must “present to the transport company, before boarding, a sworn declaration that they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 infection”.

In the same declaration, they must also state “that they are not aware of having been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to the trip and undertake to respect a prophylactic isolation for seven days after their arrival in France in an accommodation of which they will give the address”.

In addition, they must also undertake to carry out, at the end of this period, a virological screening biological examination for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 (RT-PCR test). “The model of this declaration will be available very soon on the Ministry of the Interior’s website. No exemption will be granted by the French consular services in Algeria in the state of availability of the RT-PCR test in Algeria”, the French embassy in Algiers further states.

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

People suffering from the after-effects of COVID-19 in Constantine: A psychological support initiative for the Algerian Red Crescent Society

The initiative, which remains a first of its kind in the wilaya of Constantine, is an operation of listening and analysis of the psychological impact of COVID-19 on the victims and their relatives, including children, through drawing workshops and discussion groups. With the easing of the containment measures decided last October and the gradual return to normal life, the Algerian Red Crescent Committee in Constantine (CRA) has taken a step forward by launching an initiative to provide psychological support to people who have suffered the after-effects of COVID-19. People who expressed a great need to talk and “empty their bag” after months of confinement and suffering.

It is also a way to help these people overcome their isolation and assist them to overcome this difficult ordeal without damage. “It was through the reception of people seeking social assistance that we offered listening and interview sessions for people who had suffered from the after-effects of COVID-19 and who agreed to come and talk voluntarily about their experience with the coronavirus, and then over time, discussion groups were formed. In view of what we have observed, we have initiated a psychological support operation for people who have suffered from this pandemic,” revealed Nahoui Hazourli, vice-president of the Algerian Red Crescent Committee of Constantine and the psychologist responsible for this experience, to El Watan Ouahiba Nahoui Hazourli.

Ms. Hazourli argues that multiple contacts with these people have revealed subjects in a state of psychological distress, having not yet endured the shock imposed by the disease, while others did not accept their illness when they discovered that they were suffering from COVID-19, not to mention the family conflicts that this health crisis has generated.

This traumatic event has been experienced as one experiences a war or a strong earthquake during which the feeling of danger is great, with an inordinate fear of catching the disease, it has even become an obsession”, analyses the CRA psychologist.

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

Scientific committee warns against reopening borders

The spokesman for the scientific committee monitoring the coronavirus pandemic, Djamel Fourar warned Sunday, January 17, against the reopening of Algeria’s borders. The scientist evoked the risk of the propagation of the new COVID-19 strain coming from Europe.

In a statement granted to the national radio channel 2, Djamel Fourar ruled out the possibility of reopening Algeria’s borders because of the risk of the spread of the new strain of COVID-19. “If we reopen the borders, we risk receiving the new variant of coronavirus,” he warned.

Thus, the reopening of Algeria’s borders, closed since March 2020 to stem the spread of the coronavirus, is not expected to happen tomorrow. This is despite the imminent launch of the vaccination campaign against COVID-19. This measure should therefore be strengthened to cope with the emergence of new strains potentially more contagious coronavirus, according to the spokesman of the scientific committee.

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

January 17, 2020

COVID-19 Vaccine: Non-affected categories revealed

Professor Riad Mehyaoui, a member of the scientific committee for the fight against COVID-19, gave his opinion on the vaccination campaign in Algeria, specifying, in this sense, the category of priority persons exempt from the COVID-19 vaccine.

The categories that will benefit from the coronavirus vaccine have been determined. These are, as a priority, health and other strategic sectors, the elderly, and patients with chronic pathologies, according to Professor Riad Mehyaoui, member of the scientific committee for the fight against COVID-19. On the other hand, and according to Professor Riad Mehyaoui, “pregnant women, people with an allergy to the components of the vaccine and children” are not concerned by the COVID-19 vaccine, adds the same official who reminds that the vaccine remains “not compulsory for citizens”.

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

32 women victims of domestic violence died in 10 months.

Violence against women has exploded during the health crisis in Algeria. Indeed, according to a survey carried out by lawyer and consultant Nadia Aït Zaï for the United Nations Population Fund (Funap), violence against women was exacerbated during the confinement. This violence took several forms, such as physical, sexual, psychological and socio-economic attacks.

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

COVID-19: Launch of training for vaccination campaign supervisors

A training of the supervisors of the vaccination campaign against COVID-19, due to start before the end of January, will be launched this week, revealed Sunday in Algiers, the president of the scientific committee in charge of monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus, Dr. Djamel Fourar.

“The national immunization strategy includes, among other things, the training of supervisors of the vaccination campaign that will begin this week, knowing that these trainers will be called upon to train, in turn, other people at the local level,” said Dr. Fourar, speaking on Channel II of the National Radio.

While reiterating that this campaign will be “started before the end of January in progress”, he recalled that Algeria will receive the first batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine (500,000 doses), which will be administered “obligatorily in 2 doses, for the same person with an interval of 21 days”.

“Otherwise, this vaccine will have no effect as each dose provides only 50% immunity against the virus,” he clarified, saying that health workers will be the first category of the population to benefit, followed by the various security corps, citizens aged 65 and over and then the chronically ill.

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

Dr. Bekkat Berkani: “It doesn’t matter when the covid vaccine arrives”.

The vaccination campaign against the coronavirus disease COVID-19 “will be spread over time and will last several months or even more than a year” in Algeria, said Saturday Dr. Mohamed Bekkat Berkani, president of the Medical Association and member of the scientific committee.

…] Algeria has a “tradition of vaccine prevention. It has a local network of polyclinics and dispensaries that can be absolutely effective in starting this vaccination gradually,” he says.

“The date of the start of vaccination is of secondary importance, as the first doses will serve as a starting point. The date of arrival does not matter as we are only at the start. It is possible that we will have the first doses in the coming weeks. We are still a fortnight away from the end of the month,” says the member of the scientific committee.

Dr. Bekkat Berkani believes that “the important thing is to get started in the vaccination campaign and the authorities are in constant contact with firms and even countries to increase the acquisition of this number of vaccines”.

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

January 15, 2021

Prof. Berkani: “Algeria has already procured 500 thousand doses of the vaccine”.

The dean of the order of doctors and member of the scientific commission in Algeria, Professor Bakat Berkani said Friday 15 January on the Tranquilla programme on Radio Med that Algeria accepts with great faith to share the doses of vaccine it is going to get with its Tunisian neighbour. “Our two countries have a common destiny,” he recalled. Nobody in Algeria has forgotten the decisive support given by Tunisia in our revolution for national liberation. In short, Algeria and Tunisia are the same country”.

The Algerian medical personality also noted that his country has procured 500 thousand doses of vaccine against COVID-19.

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

January 14, 2021

China’s vaccines against COVID-19 in four points

Algeria has opted for a second vaccine against COVID-19. After choosing Sputnik V to launch the mass vaccination campaign, it ordered a second vaccine from China.

On Wednesday, the government announced that Algeria will receive before the end of January a batch of COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine from China, which will complement the batch of vaccines from Russia that our country is also due to receive.

The government has not specified which Chinese vaccine Algeria will receive. In fact, China does not have a single laboratory that has embarked on the race for the coronavirus vaccine, but two. Sinovac and Chinese Sinopharm are the two laboratories that have announced the development of vaccines, each with their own specificities and effectiveness.

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

Partial confinement at extended home for 29 wilayas

The Prime Minister, Abdelaziz Djerad, said to extend the partial confinement at home in 29 wilayas for a period of fifteen days from 16 January 2021, announced Thursday, January 14, a statement by the Prime Minister. In application of the instructions of the President of the Republic, Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister of National Defence and at the end of consultations with the scientific committee for monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the health authority, Prime Minister Abdelaziz DJERAD has decided to extend the preventive measures under the mechanism for managing the health crisis related to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). These measures are as follows:

1. Partial confinement at home :

  • The extension of the measure of partial confinement at home from eight (20) p.m. until five (5) a.m. the following day is applicable for the following twenty-nine (29) wilayas: Laghouat, Oum El Bouaghi, Batna, Bejaia, Biskra, Blida, Bouira, Tebessa, Tlemcen, Tizi-Ouzou, Algiers, Jijel, Sétif, Sidi Bel Abbes, Annaba, Guelma, Constantine, Médéa, Mostaganem, M’Sila, Mascara, Oran, Boumerdes, El Tarf, Tissemsilt, Souk Ahras Tipaza, Ain Temouchent and Relizane. The measure of confinement at home does not apply to the following nineteen (19) wilayas: Adrar, Chlef, Béchar, Tamenghasset, Tiaret, Djelfa, Saïda, Skikda, Ouargla, El Bayadh, Illizi, Bordj Bou Arréridj, Tindouf, El Oued, Khenchela, Mila, Ain Defla, Naâma and Ghardaia.
  • These containment measures are applicable, as of Saturday 16 January 2021, for a period of fifteen (15) days.

2. For public passenger transport services :

  • The continuity of public passenger air transport services on the domestic network concerning the totality of services to and from the wilayas of the south of the country and 50% of flights serving those of the north of the country, with the implementation and strict respect of the sanitary protocols specific to airports and on board aircraft, elaborated on the basis of the recommendations of the civil aviation authorities and adopted by the scientific committee for the monitoring of the evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic.

3. Road transport on inter-wilaya links :

  • The continuity of road passenger transport services by train, coach and taxi, with the limitation of the number of passengers to 50% of capacity for buses and coaches, 5 persons for 9-seater vehicles and 4 persons for 7-seater vehicles, in strict compliance with the barrier measures and specific health protocols drawn up for each mode of transport and adopted by the scientific committee monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic.

4. Social and economic activities:

  • The extension of the measure to close, for a period of fifteen (15) days, the second-hand vehicle sales markets throughout the national territory.
  • The extension of the closure measure, for a period of fifteen (15) days and in the twenty-nine (29) wilayas concerned by the partial confinement at home of the following activities: Omnisports halls and sports halls; and places of pleasure, relaxation, recreational and leisure spaces and beaches.
  • The extension of the measure limiting the activities of cafés, restaurants and fast-food outlets to take-away sales only.
  • The extension of the measure of limitation, in the wilayas concerned by the partial confinement at home, of the activity time of certain businesses which will have to cease all activity as from nineteen (19) o’clock in the evening.
  • The gradual and controlled opening of cultural centres and youth centres, subject to strict compliance with the health protocols adopted by the scientific committee monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The extension of the measures applicable to the ordinary and weekly markets relating to the control system by the competent services in order to ensure compliance with the preventive and protective measures and the application of the sanctions provided for by the regulations in force against offenders.

5. With regard to public gatherings and rallies :

  • The extension of the prohibition, throughout the national territory, of any type of gathering of persons and family reunification, in particular the celebration of marriages and circumcision and other events such as reunifications at cemetery level.
  • The extension of the prohibition measure concerning meetings and general assemblies organised by certain institutions.

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

January 13, 2021

Algeria will receive a batch of vaccines from China before the end of January.

The Minister of Communication, Government Spokesman, Ammar Belhimer announced Wednesday the receipt by Algeria of a batch of vaccines against COVID-19 from China “before the end of January this year”.

At the end of the Government meeting, Mr Belhimer said that “in addition to the Russian vaccine, it is expected that Algeria will receive another batch of COVID-19 vaccine from the People’s Republic of China before the end of January 2021”.

At the Government meeting, a project was adopted that focuses on the introduction of new measures to facilitate coronavirus vaccine procurement procedures in the shadow of urgent global demand and intense international competition in this area.

Moreover, the draft in question “proposes the amendment of Article seven (7) of the Presidential Decree, in order to allow the contracting service to avoid, exceptionally, to present a deposit for the restitution of the advances imposed under the ordinary conditions”, stressed the Minister.

He said that the amendment “can be adapted to internationally agreed payment and financing procedures to avoid delays in vaccine procurement”.

Mr Belhimer had announced, it will be recalled, the signing of a private contract with a Russian laboratory for the acquisition of the COVID-19 vaccine, in application of President Tebboune’s decision to launch the vaccination operation in January 2021.

He also said that the Pasteur Institute Algeria (IPA) had begun, as a first step, consultations with the Russian laboratory Sputnik V, manufacturer of the vaccine, and that discussions were underway with other countries.

Last December, President Tebboune gave instructions to the Prime Minister to choose the appropriate vaccine against COVID-19 and to launch the vaccination campaign from January 2021.

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

COVID-19: “It is useless to vaccinate children”.

Professor Noureddine Zidouni, 69, a lung specialist at the Béni Messous University Hospital in Algiers, says he will be vaccinated against COVID-19, and believes that it is useless to vaccinate children. In this interview, he talks about the long-term complications of contamination with the new coronavirus.

When do you expect the vaccine against COVID-19 to arrive in Algeria?

Like everyone else, I hope that the finalisation of the dossier by the authorities will make it possible to have this vaccine available as soon as possible.

Will the vaccine signal the end of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused nearly two million deaths worldwide, compared to more than 2,800 deaths in Algeria?

The vaccine is part of the solution. The goal is to vaccinate at least 60% of the population so that the epidemic is under control, with group immunity.

There are 500,000 doses (of the Russian Sputnik vaccine that still haven’t arrived, editor’s note) that have been ordered by Algeria, and we’re talking about 250,000 (other) doses. This is only the beginning. This vaccination is a process that will last several months.

I have read in the press that there are several suppliers who are asked for other types of vaccines, which are safe and have a satisfactory percentage of effectiveness.

 As an individual, are you going to get vaccinated against COVID-19?   

Yes, that’s right. Because I meet the requirements. At 69 years old, I am one of the priority people for vaccination.

Is Algeria behind in vaccination?      

You know there is a worldwide demand (for vaccines) and I understand that we have not been able to have vaccines available at the same dates as other countries, but I don’t think it’s late because our (health) situation is not comparable to that of our northern Mediterranean neighbours, the number of sick people in our country is not very high.

And I note that the public increasingly understands the benefits of respecting barrier measures. The (vaccination) process is still manageable, provided we have this possibility of large-scale vaccination by the end of this month (January).

Which categories should be vaccinated as a priority in Algeria?     

Obviously the elderly and those with co-morbidities, then the front-line caregivers. The emergency is the people over 65 years of age who have comorbidities. Afterwards, we will be able to vaccinate subjects between 55 and 65 years of age who present co-morbidities, and so on until we reach a large majority of the population.

I don’t think it’s useful to vaccinate children because until they’re 15, the prevalence of morbidity is not very high. And if we act on group immunity, they will be less exposed.

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

COVID-19: Public and private passenger transport – gradual resumption of activity

Public and private passenger transporters (buses and taxis), particularly those providing long-distance transport, have been working since the resumption of activity almost 15 days ago to revive the sector’s dynamic for a gradual return to normal, in compliance with the preventive measures against the pandemic (COVID-19).

Approached by the APS, the transporters, for their part, claimed to have suffered colossal losses after 9 months of inactivity, stressing that they are nevertheless trying to regain the pace of the pre-health crisis, despite preventive measures, given the growing increase in passengers currently recorded at the bus stations compared to the first days of the resumption of activity.

The president of the National Federation of Transport of Passengers and Goods (FNTV), Abdelkader Boucherit told APS that a significant number of carriers have not yet benefited from the compensation of 30,000 DA because they had not paid their contributions to the National Social Insurance Fund for Non-Employees (Casnos) for the period 2019-2020.

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