February 14 – 21, 2021 | Tunisia Press Review

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

February 21, 2021

UNICEF provides cleaning and disinfection kits to all Tunisian schools

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has provided cleaning and disinfection kits to all of Tunisia’s 6,102 schools in partnership with the education ministry, the ministry’s director of asset management, Mohamed Makrazi, announced on Sunday.

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

The impact of COVID-19 on the world of work – winners and losers

In the short term, the consequences of the pandemic are almost entirely negative and universal. Since almost all countries have been affected. The first phase of the crisis, in early 2020, was characterized by a wave of business closures, colossal losses in working time and income, and increases in unemployment and poverty around the world.

In all countries, the hardest hit were the groups already disadvantaged before the crisis: low-skilled workers, young people, the elderly, women, migrants, the disabled, … The situation is uneven from one country to another and the picture may not be as black as it seems. The changes, which are taking place in three areas shaken by the crisis, could lead to more positive trends in the medium and long term: 1. The acceleration of telework, 2. A technological leap, 3. A greater awareness of climate and environmental challenges.

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

February 20, 2021

Discovery of a new variant of COVID-19 in Tunisia

Tunisian health authorities announced on Saturday that they have discovered a new variant of COVID-19 in the country. “Two people tested positive to a new variant of COVID-19 in the governorate of Tunis,” Health Director General Faycel Ben Salah said at a press conference.

For his part, the director of the Pasteur Institute and member of the scientific committee for the fight against the coronavirus, Hechmi Louzir announced that a case of death by this new variant of COVID-19 has been recorded in Tunis. The case involved a septuagenarian who tested negative before finding out that he was a carrier of the new variant of COVID-19, noted the same source in press statements.

He reported that a team of researchers at the Pasteur Institute carried out partial genetic analyses on the coronavirus and detected a new local variant of the virus, which was taken from the deceased septuagenarian. The official added that the same variant of COVID-19 was detected in a 17-year-old young man in Oued Ellil who had no symptoms.

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

February 19, 2021

Faouzi Mehdi: Tunisia will receive nearly 9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021

Tunisia will receive, in 2021, 8.8 million 800 thousand doses of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine which will be used to vaccinate 5 million people against the coronavirus, Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi said Friday. “It is 93600 doses of Pfeizer vaccine and between 148 thousand and 207 thousand doses of AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVAX initiative in addition to 100 thousand doses of Pfeizer vaccine acquired directly from the laboratory,” he said.

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

Faouzi Mehdi: “Compulsory confinement also applies to travellers vaccinated against COVID-19”.

Faouzi Mahdi said Friday that the mandatory confinement imposed by Tunisia since February 1, 2021 on all travellers arriving on Tunisian soil, also applies to all persons vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the TAP agency, the Minister of Health explained that scientific studies have proven that people who have been vaccinated against VIDC-19 can be re-infected with the coronavirus. This was on the sidelines of the plenary session at the Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) devoted to the adoption of a bill on civil liability resulting from the use of COVID-19 vaccines.

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

Tunisia will receive more than 8 million doses of vaccines

The Minister of Health announced at the plenary session on 19 February that the 8.800 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will make it possible to vaccinate 5 million Tunisians.

He added that about 500,000 citizens have registered on the digital platform related to the organisation of the national vaccination campaign against coronavirus. He added that the number of people registered is low.

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

February 18, 2021

Mandatory confinement and blackmail in Tunis-Carthage

The ‘Raqaba’ Observatory calls on the health and security authorities to open an investigation to lift the veil on extortion and blackmail operations allegedly suffered by Tunisians returning from abroad, in order to benefit from the exemption from compulsory confinement.

In a press release published on its official page on the social network Facebook, the Observatory said it had received complaints from citizens arriving from foreign countries at Tunis-Carthage airport, according to which “security agents in charge of escorting them to the containment centres, would have offered to spare them the procedure of compulsory confinement in a hotel at exorbitant prices and allow them to leave the airport immediately, in exchange for money in foreign currency”.

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

COVID-19 | Tunis International Book Fair postponed again

The steering committee of the 36th edition of the Tunis International Book Fair (FILT) announced in a press release issued Thursday the postponement of this edition scheduled from April 2 to 11 to a later date in the same year 2021.

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

February 17, 2021

Tunisia: 54% of medical staff in COVID-19 services suffer from psychological disorders

he member of the scientific committee for the fight against COVID-19, Nizar Laadhari, spoke today about the repercussions of the pandemic on the mental health of the medical profession, in an intervention on a private radio station. Laadhari said the occupational medicine department conducted research based on a corpus of 54 people, including medical and paramedical officials, in direct contact with patients admitted to COVID-19 at Charles Nicole Hospital.

The study, which lasted 3 months, showed that 54% of the staff are victims of psychological fatigue and 35% of them show symptoms of nervous tension.

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

February 16, 2021

COVID-19: 64% drop in the number of visas granted by France to Tunisians

According to statistics on immigration, asylum and access to French nationality recently published by the General Directorate for Foreigners in France (DGEF) of the Ministry of the Interior, the number of visas issued to Tunisians has fallen by some 64% in 2020, from 145,846 in 2019 to 49,458 in 2020.

Nevertheless, this fall does not only concern Tunisians, since the health crisis has completely disrupted the mobility of people around the world and reduced the number of visa applicants to move from one country to another.

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

Delayed vaccination: Should we be worried?

Moez Hammami, a statistics expert and founder of the Quantylix company, believes that the date of the COVID-19 vaccination remains approximate and that the February 15 date, previously announced by the authorities as the date of arrival of the vaccines, was ambitious, since Tunisia registered late for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, which will cause a delay in the vaccination campaign. Faced with such an already complicated situation, the country must tighten its containment measures to be able to manage this exceptional health situation properly.

Internationally, only two countries have managed to vaccinate more than 70% of their population, while France, for example, which started its vaccination campaign two months ago, has only achieved a rate of 4%. For Tunisia, the campaign could start in March or April and it needs at least four months to vaccinate 70% of the population. This is what Mr Hammami considers a very optimistic estimate.

In this particular and sensitive context, Mr. Hammami says that for 2021, we should not rely on vaccination, but on good management of the crisis, while avoiding the mistakes that occurred during the first and second waves of this pandemic. For him, the lack of responsibility of leaders and the absence of an effective de-confinement strategy are behind this particular and complicated situation. But we must not throw in the towel quickly, and we must learn from our mistakes to move forward, be accountable for our efforts and defeat this pandemic.

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

February 15, 2021

Tunisia: double punishment for relatives of COVID victims-19

Bereaved families are kept away from burials. Only funeral directors are on duty. It is death in the soul to comply with this government directive. “The municipality could have taken the body out in front of the house, at least for half an hour, even from a distance, so that it could be seen from afar. This was not possible,” says Lotfi Jlassi, brother of a deceased COVID-19 member. The authorities say they accept the presence of the families, but with social distancing to protect those attending the ceremonies.

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

Tunisia-Canada: Hotel stay mandatory for 3 nights, starting February 22, 2021

Passengers travelling to Montreal will have to reserve, before their departure, for 3 nights in a hotel authorized by the Government of Canada, starting February 22, 2021, announced Monday the national carrier Tunisair. Tunisian travellers should also check with the competent authorities for more details on the conditions of entry into Canada.

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

Tunisia-Sfax: Doctor plays violin for COVID-19 infected patients on Valentine’s Day

Dr. Mohamed Salah Siala published a video on his page, this Sunday, February 14, 2021, in which he played the violin for patients hospitalized in the COVID-19 ward of the Hedi Chaker Hospital in Sfax, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day.

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

Mandatory confinement, list of cases that will not be subject to it

The Ministry of Health published, on Monday 15 February 2021, the list of cases that may not be subject to compulsory confinement; a decision imposed by Tunisia since 1ᵉʳ February 2021 against persons coming from abroad.

This list includes sick people whose state of health requires emergency care, provided they have a medical certificate stating that they will be admitted to a public or private hospital, the ministry said in its press release.

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

February 14, 2021

The Ministry of Health launches a simulation of vaccination against COVID-19

The Ministry of Health launched Sunday at the dome of El Menzah, the first simulation of vaccination against the coronavirus in preparation for the actual launch of the national campaign scheduled for the end of this month with the arrival of the first batch of vaccine against COVID-19 from Pfizer, initially intended for health personnel, according to the regional director of health in Tunis, Tarek Ben Nasr.

In a statement to the TAP agency, the manager said the simulation is an effective way to ensure the success of the national immunization campaign and the management of the vaccine stockpile.

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

Tunisia – Shipwreck of a boat: 22 migrants reported missing

A tragedy occurred in the Mediterranean on Saturday 13 February when a boat carrying 48 migrants was wrecked off the Italian island of Lampedusa. The Tunisian navy took part in a rescue operation which took place around a hundred kilometres north-west of the archipelago, reports the newspaper Le Figaro. In a press release, it detailed that it had rescued 25 migrants of different African nationalities, including 6 women. They were brought back to Tunisia, note 7 out of 7.

Migrants, quoted by the press release, said their boat sailed in the port region of Sidi Mansour, in the province of Sfax (central-eastern Tunisia), during the night from Friday to Saturday. The boat carried 48 people, 22 migrants are missing, and the navy has recovered a lifeless body. Due to bad weather, rescue operations were interrupted.

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