Tunisia sacks health minister amid surge in virus cases

2 months ago 3157

Tunisia's Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on Tuesday sacked Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi, Mechichi's office said, amid spiralling coronavirus cases in the North African country.

The ministry said earlier this month that Tunisia's health system had "collapsed" under the weight of the pandemic, which has caused more than 17,000 deaths in a population of around 12 million inhabitants.

"The situation is too serious, it really scares me," says 37-year-old Karima Mahdouni who rushed like thousands of other Tunisians to get their anti-coronavirus jab at a vaccination centre in Tunis, as cases spiral in the Northern African country.

With limited stocks, only 913,000 people are fully vaccinated, or about 8% of Tunisia's population.

Rafla Tej Dellagi, a paediatrician and advisor to Tunisia's ministry of health said the country needs to rapidly increase vaccinations to achieve some respite from the pandemic.

"Vaccination is a race against time, it is also a race taking into account all the constraints, including the availability of vaccines. In Tunisia, we've been administering roughly 42,000 vaccines per day up to now, but if we really want to vaccinate further during this month, we need to redouble (the vaccination rate): we must reach 100,000 vaccinations per day," she said.

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