Algeria president Tebboune returns from COVID-19 treatment in Germany

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s absence since the end of October has fuelled speculation over his ability to finish his first term. (Reuters/File Photo)
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s absence since the end of October has fuelled speculation over his ability to finish his first term. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 30 December 2020

Algeria president Tebboune returns from COVID-19 treatment in Germany

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s absence since the end of October has fuelled speculation over his ability to finish his first term. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • His absence since end of October fueled speculation over his ability to finish first term

ALGIERS: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune returned to Algeria Tuesday after a two-month absence in Germany, where he received treatment for Covid-19, ending a period of uncertainty in a country facing a health, political and economic crises.
“It is hard to be far from one's country and even harder for someone who has a lot of responsibility,” Tebboune said, according to footage broadcast after he arrived from Berlin.
Seemingly in good health, Tebboune, who looked to have regained weight since his last television appearance over two weeks ago, was greeted by several senior Algerian officials, including Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad and army chief of staff Said Chengriha.
The president spoke briefly, wishing “a happy new year to all Algerians,” “much better than 2020,” and implying that he was almost cured of the virus.
The prime minister said he was “happy to see the president of the republic back in his homeland to convalesce” and “eager to continue the work to achieve the objectives of the ‘new Algeria’.”
Tebboune made his last televised appearance on December 13, looking visibly thinner after weeks in treatment, saying he was “on the road to recovery.”
Aged 75 and a heavy smoker, he was hospitalised in Germany on October 28, and Algerian authorities later announced he had the Covid-19 illness.
He had finished his treatment and left hospital at the end of November, but extended his stay in Germany for a period of convalescence.
His prolonged absence had sparked concerns of an institutional crisis, after voters in November approved a revised constitution on record low turnout in a referendum widely seen as a manoeuvre to neutralise a long-running protest movement.
Tebboune has been unable to sign the revised constitution into law because he must be on Algerian soil to do so.
He also has until December 31 to sign off on a 2021 budget.
His absence came as Algeria faces a sharp recession due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and a gaping budget deficit due to low crude prices that have slashed the country's vital oil revenues.
Tebboune won last year's widely boycotted December 12 presidential election, following months of mass protests that had swept his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office.
Tebboune's disappearance had reminded many Algerians of Bouteflika's frequent hospitalisations abroad.
Mass protests broke out in early last year against the ailing octogenarian's bid for a fifth term in office.
The rallies led by what came to be known as the Hirak movement continued well beyond Bouteflika's April 2019 resignation, and were only suspended when the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Algeria has officially recorded 98,988 cases of the novel coronavirus and 2,745 deaths.


UAE confirms 3,407 new COVID-19 cases, 7 additional deaths

UAE confirms 3,407 new COVID-19 cases, 7 additional deaths
Updated 30 sec ago

UAE confirms 3,407 new COVID-19 cases, 7 additional deaths

UAE confirms 3,407 new COVID-19 cases, 7 additional deaths
  • Daily total of cases hits record high for 4th day, recent rises attributed to ‘intensified investigation and increase in testing’
  • Kuwait records 530 cases and 1 death, Bahrain reports 209 cases and 1 death

DUBAI: The UAE recorded 3,407 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the fourth day in a row that the daily total has hit a new high. An additional seven people have died of virus-related causes.
Officials from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said the total number of cases has reached 246,376, and the death toll stands at 733. A further 3,168 people recovered from the virus in the preceding 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 218,988.
The ministry attributed the sharp rise in the number of cases over the past few days to “intensified investigation and examination procedures and an increase in testing at the state level.”
Officials said that more than 138,000 people were vaccinated in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number that has received the first of the two doses that are required to about 1.66 million. Authorities in the UAE have said that they plan to vaccinate 50 percent of the population by April, with priority given to those over the age of 60 or suffering from chronic diseases.

The Department of Social Services, in cooperation with Sharjah Medical District, said it has received 800,700 applications for the COVID-19 vaccine from senior citizens and individuals with disabilities and mental illnesses, and their families. The vaccinations will be administered in their homes in Sharjah.
Afaf Al-Marri, the head of the department, said officials have been working to launch a number of initiatives designed to protect the health and safety of senior citizens since the pandemic began. He added that the launch of the home-vaccination service is one of the most important initiatives, designed to help some of the most vulnerable people.
During daily inspection tours, Dubai Economy issued fines to nine commercial establishments for failing to adhere to COVID-19 precautions. Inspection teams found 732 businesses to be compliant.
Abu Dhabi Media Office has released guidelines and a video explaining coronavirus precautions that should be taken when camping in the desert.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said it aims to support efforts to overcome the exceptional global effects of the pandemic by “uniting and supporting all segments of society, adopting common humanitarian values and strengthening cooperation with various local and international entities to accelerate the process of digital transformation and automate procedures for customers and employees alike.”

The authority said it is using all of its capabilities and resources to support national efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Its efforts include providing logistical support to the health and community sectors in the emirate, and a large number of employees have volunteered to support those who provide the first line of defense against the disease.
Saeed Mohammed Al-Tayer, DEWA’s managing director and CEO, said the “contribution of the authority’s employees embodies the highest forms of effective popular participation, cooperation, solidarity and community cohesion that characterizes the UAE.”
Elsewhere, Kuwait reported 530 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 156,964. The death toll rose to 947, with one additional death was reported in the previous 24 hours.

In Bahrain, one death was reported, raising the death toll to 357, while 209 new infected cases were confirmed.