Egypt begins mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign

Dr. Abdel Menoim Selim, is shown on a live screen receiving the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, ahead of a press conference, at the Abu Khalifa Hospital in Ismailia, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP)
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Dr. Abdel Menoim Selim, is shown on a live screen receiving the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, ahead of a press conference, at the Abu Khalifa Hospital in Ismailia, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP)
(L to R) Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed gives a press conference, accompanied by doctor Abdelmouim Selem and medical staff member Ahmed Hemdan, in a tent set up outside the Abou Khalifa hospital, in Ismailia, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east the capital Cairo, on Sunday Jan. 24, 2021, after the two men received a doze of a coronavirus vaccine. (AFP)
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(L to R) Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed gives a press conference, accompanied by doctor Abdelmouim Selem and medical staff member Ahmed Hemdan, in a tent set up outside the Abou Khalifa hospital, in Ismailia, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east the capital Cairo, on Sunday Jan. 24, 2021, after the two men received a doze of a coronavirus vaccine. (AFP)
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Updated 25 January 2021

Egypt begins mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign

(L to R) Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed gives a press conference, accompanied by doctor Abdelmouim Selem and medical staff member Ahmed Hemdan, in a tent set up outside the Abou Khalifa hospital, in Ismailia, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east the capital Cairo, on Sunday Jan. 24, 2021, after the two men received a doze of a coronavirus vaccine. (AFP)
  • Sinopharm jab rolls out in 36 centers throughout country
  • Egypt launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign on Sunday

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced the start of the campaign, and said that medical staff will be first in line to receive the jab.
Egypt received the first shipment of vaccines developed by Sinopharm last December.
Last week, the country’s minister of health said that Egypt would receive 40 million doses through the International Vaccine Alliance, a sufficient amount to vaccinate 20 million people, or 20 percent of Egypt’s population of 100 million.
The Ministry of Health and Population said that those who will receive the vaccine must be over the age of 18, and that pregnant women and children will not receive the jab.
The ministry also set the times and places for the first group of vaccine recipients.
Minister of Health Hala Zayed will hold a press conference at the Abu Khalifa Isolation Hospital in Ismailia Governorate to announce the vaccine distribution plan.

 

The ministry said that more than 36 centers in Egypt will distribute the vaccine to citizens, with the first group in line being medical staff in isolation, then chest and fever hospital patients, and then patients with chronic diseases and the elderly.

The ministry stressed that the vaccines have been thoroughly tested and are safe, and have undergone analysis that proved the Sinopharm vaccine 86 percent effective. The ministry added that the success of the vaccine in generating antibodies is 99 percent, and that it is totally effective in preventing moderate or major injury.
Symptoms that vaccine recipients may experience include pain, stiffness, itching, high temperature, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, muscle pain, joint pain and convulsive attacks.
These symptoms generally do not require specific treatment and usually subside without a prescription or medication.
On Saturday, Egypt recorded a significant decrease in new coronavirus cases. It recorded 680 new cases, a noticeable decline from the day before, in which it recorded 748 new cases.
It also recorded 49 new deaths, a decrease compared with the 52 deaths it recorded the previous day.


Multiple rockets land at Iraq’s Al-Asad air base that hosts US, coalition forces

Multiple rockets land at Iraq’s Al-Asad air base that hosts US, coalition forces
Updated 17 min 49 sec ago

Multiple rockets land at Iraq’s Al-Asad air base that hosts US, coalition forces

Multiple rockets land at Iraq’s Al-Asad air base that hosts US, coalition forces

BAGHDAD: At least 10 rockets hit a military base in western Iraq hosting US-led coalition troops on Wednesday, security sources said, two days before Pope Francis’s historic visit to the country.
The attack on Ain al-Assad military airport in western Anbar province took place at 7:20 am (0420 GMT), coalition spokesman Colonel Wayne Marotto quoted by AFP said.

The base hosts United States, coalition and Iraqi forces, two security sources said.

No casualties have been reported so far.

A Baghdad Operations Command official said earlier that about 13 rockets were launched from a location about 8 kilometers from the base.

It was the second rocket attack in Iraq this month and came two days ahead of the Pope’s visit to Iraq. 

The Pope will visit despite deteriorating security in some parts of the country which has seen the first big suicide bombing in Baghdad for three years.

On Feb. 16 a rocket attack on US-led forces in northern Iraq killed a civilian contractor and injured a US service member.

(with Reuters and AFP)


Ten people killed in plane crash in South Sudan

Ten people killed in plane crash in South Sudan
Updated 42 min 16 sec ago

Ten people killed in plane crash in South Sudan

Ten people killed in plane crash in South Sudan

JUBA: Ten people, including the two pilots, died when a plane crashed Tuesday at an airstrip in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, the region’s governor said.

“It was with great shock and horror to receive the news of the plane crash (HK-4274) of South Sudan Supreme Airline that happened today the 2nd day of March 2021 at around 5.05 PM at Pieri Airstrip,” Governor Denay Jock Chagor said in a statement sent to AFP Wednesday.

“Ten people including the two pilots lost their lives.”


UAE to restart accepting Filipino household service workers

UAE to restart accepting Filipino household service workers
Updated 03 March 2021

UAE to restart accepting Filipino household service workers

UAE to restart accepting Filipino household service workers
  • Agreement involves recruiting Filipino domestic workers via official entities from April 2021

DUBAI: The UAE will resume accepting Filipino household service workers (HSWs) next month after signing a labor agreement with the Philippines giving greater protection to home-based employees.

The agreement involves recruiting Filipino domestic workers via official entities from April 2021, which “will begin a new phase of bilateral cooperation between the two friendly countries in the recruitment of domestic workers,” Saif Al-Suwaidi, Undersecretary at the UAE Ministry for Human Resources Affairs said in a statement released by state news agency WAM.

The agreement will control and regulate the recruitment process, maintain the rights of all involved parties, and reduce the overall costs of this process, Al-Suwaidi added.

The deployment of Filipino domestic workers to the UAE has been suspended since 2014 when the UAE stopped foreign embassies from verifying the contracts of their nationals serving as domestic helpers. Contract verification is required under Philippine law.

The new deployment scheme will now be covered by a Unified Employment Contract that provides stringent measures to protect HSWs pursuant to the directives of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, various Philippine media reports noted.

Under the unified contract, both the employer and the foreign recruitment agencies, and the Philippine recruitment agencies are bound by joint and solidary liability should anything happen to the Filipino workers.

The same provisions were in the standard employment contract being used in Kuwait, Philippine labor officials noted.

The UAE official also said discussions were held with their Philippine counterparts regarding “precautionary procedures implemented by the UAE to protect workers, including domestic workers, from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its efforts to offer medical treatment to patients.”


Oman COVID-19 fatalities rise in February

Oman COVID-19 fatalities rise in February
Updated 03 March 2021

Oman COVID-19 fatalities rise in February

Oman COVID-19 fatalities rise in February
  • Sultanate has reported 1,5480 COVID-19 deaths so far this month

DUBAI: The number of COVID-19 related fatalities in Oman rose in February compared with the earlier month, health officials in the country said.

A total 41 were reported to have died from coronavirus complications last month compared with 30 in January, according to the latest Ministry of Health figures.

The Sultanate has reported 1,5480 COVID-19 deaths so far this month.

The Gulf country has expanded its immunization campaign against coronavirus, and now covers individuals aged 60 and above, whether or not the individuals are healthy, as well as patients suffering chronic diseases and health workers in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

“Some of this spread is due to the presence of rapidly spreading mutated strains of the virus,” according an earlier statement from the country’s Supreme Committee, which tasked with addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total 142,169 coronavirus cases have been reported overnight, with 132,945 of the patients making full recovery.

Health officials meanwhile said 19 people have been admitted to hospital with COVID symptoms over the last 24 hours, a report from Times of Oman said.


Israeli-owned cargo ship back at sea after suspected attack

Israeli-owned cargo ship back at sea after suspected attack
Updated 03 March 2021

Israeli-owned cargo ship back at sea after suspected attack

Israeli-owned cargo ship back at sea after suspected attack
  • The MV Helios Ray was sailing along the Omani coast toward the Arabian Sea
  • The suspected attack has raised tensions in the region

DUBAI: An Israeli-owned cargo ship that suffered a mysterious explosion last week has left Dubai’s port and was transiting the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday, satellite tracking data showed. The suspected attack has raised tensions in the region.
The giant MV Helios Ray, a Bahamian-flagged roll-on, roll-off vehicle cargo ship, was sailing along the Omani coast toward the Arabian Sea, according to satellite-tracking data from website MarineTraffic.com, days after docking in Dubai for repairs. Overnight, the vessel passed through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Arabian Gulf through which a third of the world’s oil flows. Its destination remained unclear.
Last week, a blast struck the cargo ship in the same waterway, raising alarms about ship security in the Mideast. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Israel’s regional foe Iran of attacking the ship. Iran swiftly denied the charge.
Tensions between Iran and the West have escalated in recent weeks as Iran accelerates its nuclear program, seeking to pressure the United States to grant sanctions relief it received under its tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. In the current standoff, each side is insisting the other move first to return to the deal, which former President Donald Trump abandoned nearly three years ago.
It remains unclear what caused the explosion, which reportedly punched two holes in the vessel’s port side and two on its starboard side, just above the waterline. The incident recalled the summer of 2019, when the US military blamed Iran for a series of suspected attacks on oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf. The Navy had alleged that Iran used limpet mines — designed to be attached magnetically to a ship’s hull — to strike some of the vessels. Iran denied any role in the suspected assaults.