While the Algerian winter is gradually setting in with greyness and scattered rains, the concern about the prospect of a second wave of contamination with the new coronavirus is increasingly felt.
After a reassuring speech on the control of the pandemic, the Algerian authorities resume elements of alarmist language. Last Saturday, it was the Minister of Health, Abderrahmane Benbouzid, who declared that “the increase in Covid-19 cases is worrying”, while criticizing the “relaxation” concerning the gestures and barrier measures. “These are not the 275 confirmed cases of Friday [23 octobre] that are scary, but that’s what awaits us in the future if we continue in this way, ”he worried.
This Monday evening, October 26, Algeria has 276 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, against 263 cases on Sunday, 250 on Saturday and 273 cases on Friday, according to the official report. This is the third day in a row of rising cases in the country.
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Reconfinement? “We can’t rule anything out”
Sunday, it is the turn of the Prime Minister, Abdelaziz Djerad to sound the alarm: “The situation in our country, and after a control of the health situation and the recording of very encouraging results, shows today perceptible signs slackening, which arouse the fear of a resurgence of cases of clusters and should encourage, not only caution, but above all a stronger mobilization. “
The government is worried about the fallout from the “slackening” but also about the relative recovery of economic activity, the start of the school year and university and the next resumption of the big Friday prayer announced for November 6 in mosques. with a capacity greater than 1,000 faithful.
“The situation is very serious. There are people who die daily. We must be very serious in the way of dealing with the epidemic situation ”, alerted the Dr Fawzi Derrar, Director General of the Institut Pasteur d’Algérie on public radio this Sunday. The specialist revealed the identification of seven main clusters in Algeria, in the east and in the south of the country. These clusters “are essentially family-oriented and favored by wedding celebrations despite their prohibition”. The head of the Institut Pasteur, answering the question of a possible reconfinement, launched: “We can not rule out anything” …
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President Tebboune confined
Sunday, a primary school was closed in the village of Tazrout, in Kabylia, where there are no less than 18 cases among positive people and suspected of being infected. The school will remain closed until November 4 as a preventive measure.
In the meantime, it was President Abdelmadjid Tebboune himself who announced on October 24 that he had “voluntarily started a period of confinement [de 5 jours] following the contamination with the new coronavirus of senior executives of the Presidency of the Republic and of the government ”. According to official sources, the head of state “is doing well and is not contaminated”.
“We are not in a catastrophic situation for the moment, but we are preparing for the worst, because admissions in intensive care are starting to increase”, testifies a doctor of the Covid pole of an Algerian hospital.
At the referral hospital for the coronavirus pandemic, in Boufarik, in the south of Algiers where the very first cases of contamination occurred, “there is no longer room at the hospital level to welcome the sick. with Covid, the beds of all Covid departments are occupied. Today, we were forced to transfer the patients to other hospitals in the wilaya [préfecture] from Blida. Whereas a fortnight ago, the hospital had an occupancy rate of around 30 to 40%, ”according to Mohamed Yousfi, head of the infectious disease department of this hospital, who spoke on Sunday.
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On Saturday, instruction was given by the Ministry of Health to the various directors of hospitals in Algiers to prepare for the rise in the number of cases which is looming, while caregivers, as the daily highlights El Watan, are “at the end of the roll”. The testimonies of hospital staff are overwhelming: “To date, we have not benefited from any leave or days off. We have been on the front lines for several weeks with a contagious disease with all that this could entail as factors of anxiety and exhaustion. Today, we are facing a new increase in cases with still the same teams. Often isolated from their families, forced at a sustained pace and fighting against the dysfunctions of a bureaucratic health system, caregivers must also undergo the images of slackness they witness. Like this head of forensic medicine at the Beni Messous CHU (Algiers-Ouest) who complains to El Watan : “The health personnel continue to work anyway, while we are observing a total relaxation vis-à-vis barrier measures. This is what we see at the hospital level, when families come to the morgue to collect the body of a loved one who died without respecting barrier gestures, wearing a mask, for example. These are all examples that can be cited. “
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