February 02 – 08, 2021 | Tunisia Press Review

| ,

Photo: John S. on Flickr

February 08, 2021

Psychological disorders during COVID-19: Risk factors, effects and how to avoid them

The pandemic of COVID-19 has confronted the whole of humanity with a common, unknown and as yet uncontrollable danger. It has indeed rekindled the debate on the incompleteness and vulnerability of the human being. How to deal with uncertainty and manage doubt has been a major challenge. And how to deal with an infinite number of stress-generating factors?

One of the key messages of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development (Columbia University, New Yrok) underlines the extent of the disorders to be feared. “Many people who were doing well in the past are now less able to cope with the multi-factorial situation. Those who had previously experienced few episodes of anxiety and distress are at risk of increasing the number and intensity of these episodes and even developing a mental disorder. For those who already had a mental health problem, their condition may worsen and they may be less functional.

The occurrence of psychiatric disorders can be explained by :

  • Concern for oneself and one’s loved ones
  • The plethora of often inconsistent information
  • Exposure to traumatic situations,
  • Mourning,
  • Social isolation,
  • Domestic violence,
  • The increase in addictions that occur during confinement,
  • Economic difficulties and unemployment.

The survey revealed that :

  • 91% of adults noted a change in their lives since the pandemic
  • 28% lost their job and 33% experienced a reduction in income
  • 53% can no longer meet the basic needs of life
[…] The increase in cases of domestic violence is significant. In Tunisia, this mistreatment, which usually affected at least one woman in two, was multiplied by 9 at the end of confinement, according to data from the Ministry of Women, Family, Children and Seniors. Similarly, sexual violence is on the rise as a result of confinement, promiscuity and the interruption of health services.

How can we prevent it?

Healthy lifestyle rules should be observed, such as:

  1. respecting sleeping hours,
  2. the practice of regular physical activity,
  3. maintenance of social ties.

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

Coronavirus-confinement mandatory: more flexibility with certain cases

“The Ministry of Health is considering opting for more flexibility in the treatment of special cases that are excluded from compulsory confinement in specialized centres,” stressed Monday Mohamed Rabhi, chairman of the Containment Commission. “It is possible to limit oneself, soon, to the presentation of the required documents to the control teams at the airport without having to go through the confinement commission since the agreement would be obtained beforehand before the flight,” he said.

He also pointed out that the special cases mainly concern patients requiring permanent or urgent assistance, mentally or physically handicapped people and only one accompanying person in each case, as well as people who have come specially to visit a relative who is in a critical condition or those summoned urgently by the justice system or on an urgent mission, particularly in the context of the fight against COVID-19. Diplomats, sportsmen and women participating in regional or international events, as well as unaccompanied children under the age of 18 and families attending the funeral of a relative (ascendant or descendant), according to Rabhi, are also exempted from compulsory confinement in a specialised centre.

The Ministry of Health had recently announced that from 1 February 2021 all new arrivals in Tunisia would be subject to compulsory confinement for 7 days in one of the specialised centres reserved for this purpose, at their own expense.

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

The first doses of vaccines against COVID-19 are expected in mid-February.

The first doses of vaccines against COVID-19 are expected later this month in Tunisia. These deliveries will be made progressively in several deliveries supervised by Covax.

Tunisia has the second highest mortality rate on the continent due to COVID-19 (in relation to its population), according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The vaccines, which are supposed to offer collective immunity in the long term (if they are inoculated in at least 60% of Tunisians), are awaited there with all the more impatience as the concerns of the medical profession are high.

It is the Covax device that should deliver the first doses to the country. “It should enable 20% of the population to be vaccinated by the end of July,” hopes Hechmi Louzir, director of the Pasteur Institute of Tunis and president of the steering committee for the anti-COVID vaccination since the beginning of the year.

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

Health staff who are called to register on the evax.tn platform

All health personnel wishing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 must register on the platform www.evax.tn before February 9th at 6 pm. This was announced by the Ministry of Health in a press release published on Saturday evening. Indeed, health personnel who have already registered must update their registration on the platform. This is what the same source says. Moreover, this application is available to anyone wishing to register remotely for the anti-COVID-19 vaccination campaign. This can be done via mobile phones using the code /star 2021 hash/ or on the website www.evax.tn.

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

February 07, 2021

If the health situation permits, the Jewish Ghriba Pilgrimage will take place from 25 April to 2 May

The Jewish pilgrimage of Ghriba, on the Tunisian island of Djerba, cancelled in 2020 because of COVID-19, is scheduled from April 25 to May 2, if the health situation allows it, its main leader said Sunday.

Its holding will indeed depend on the evolution of the pandemic in Tunisia and in the world, stressed Perez Trabelsi, the manager of this annual event which usually attracts thousands of pilgrims.

Tunisia, which has not yet launched its vaccination campaign against the coronavirus, has recorded in recent weeks more than 1,000 cases and 50 deaths per day. The total number of cases is 216,176, including 7,162 deaths.

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

February 06, 2021

Algerian medical aid en route to Tunisia

A convoy of Algerian medical aid related to the fight against COVID-19 is on its way to Tunisia. This medical solidarity convoy started on Saturday, February 6, 2021 and is composed of two truck-trailers carrying medicines and medical equipment. The sending of this medical assistance convoy is part of the celebration of the 63rd anniversary of the Sakiet Sidi Youssef events of 8 February 1958.

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

February 05, 2021

Tunisia: Police violently repressed demonstrations

Police in several Tunisian governorates appear to have responded to social justice protests in recent weeks with excessive force at times, leaving one man dead and arresting hundreds, including many minors, Human Rights Watch said today.

[…] Protests erupted on January 15 after a video posted on Facebook appeared to show a police officer gratuitously humiliating a shepherd in the northwestern governorate of Siliana. The protests – at times violent – erupted in the central region of Kasserine, then Sidi Bouzid, and within days spread to Bizerte, Tebourba, and Sousse, as well as marginalized neighborhoods in Tunis.

These protests erupted despite a nationwide curfew, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., to stem the spread of COVID-19 and have ended as of February 4. While there is a public health interest in preventing large gatherings and in the government enforcing those measures, restrictions on freedom of expression for reasons of public health may not put in jeopardy the right itself.

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

Toll-free number to register for the vaccination campaign

In a press release made public yesterday, Thursday, February 4, the Ministry of Health announced that it had made available to citizens a free toll-free number for those wishing to register for the national Coronavirus vaccination campaign.

The 80 10 20 21 is operational from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. It is intended for people who cannot register via the Internet, says the press release. Initially, the ministry had made available to citizens an SMS service by sending evax to 85355, or by dialling USSD code *2021# and a registration website https://www.evax.tn/. A total of 373997 people have registered for the national coronavirus vaccination programme.

Faouzi Mehdi announced that Tunisia plans to receive 4 million doses of free COVID-19 vaccine from the GAVI Alliance from mid-February onwards. Faouzi Mehdi confirmed that these 4 million doses of vaccine will be received from 15 February. They will be used to vaccinate 2 million people.

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

January 04, 2021

Tunisia – Anti-covid vaccine: Pregnant women and children will not be vaccinated

Pregnant women and children will not be included in the coronavirus vaccination campaign in Tunisia, this was announced by Hechmi Louzir, president of the committee in charge of steering the vaccination against COVID and member of the scientific committee for the fight against coronavirus.

In a statement to the TAP agency, Louzir said that all the clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed so far and whose effectiveness has been proven, have not targeted children and pregnant women to avoid exposing these two categories to risks that could compromise their health.

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

January 03, 2021

Authorised in Tunisia, the Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective

On 30 January 2021, the Ministry of Health granted an exceptional and provisional marketing authorisation for a period of one year on the Tunisian market to the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine is nearly 92% effective against symptomatic forms of COVID-19, according to the results of the final phase of its clinical trial published Tuesday in the international medical journal The Lancet.

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

January 02, 2021

To revive tourism, Tunisia trains employees in technical unemployment

In 2019, before COVID-19, tourism contributed 14% to the Tunisian GDP. The following year, the pandemic caused the sector to shrink by about 78%, affecting thousands of jobs. As the country contemplates recovery, it has launched training to strengthen workers’ skills. A total of 1,250 people will benefit from this programme which, in addition to training, offers other advantages such as a bonus and a social allowance paid by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
For the recovery, the Ministry of Tourism expects to return to its pre-crisis pace. As of 10 November last, the country had 1.8 million tourists, a drop of about 78% compared to 2019.

Receipts fell by 63%, for a value of 1.2 billion euros. However, in this Mediterranean country, tourism is one of the main sources of foreign exchange. In 2019, the sector contributed 14% of GDP.

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