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Coronavirus

Europe sends medical aid to help Tunisia counter rise in COVID cases

Published: Updated:

Italy, Spain and Switzerland sent medical aid on Friday to Tunisia which is facing its worst health crisis since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with a sharp rise in deaths, hospitals filled to capacity and a lack of oxygen supplies.

Deaths from COVID-19 exceeded 150 per day during the past week in Tunisia, prompting countries including Qatar, Algeria, the UAE, Morocco, Turkey, and Kuwait to send aid. Egypt and Saudi Arabia opened an air bridge earlier this week, sending at least eight planes of aid.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

France said this week it also planned to send about one million vaccination doses and medical aid.

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Intensive care units and emergency departments are full in hospitals across Tunisia, officials said, and the authorities have begun installing field hospitals sent by Qatar and Morocco.

Doctors complained of exhaustion and a shortage of oxygen supplies.

Tunisia recorded 194 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, the highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic. In all, it has reported more than 17,000 deaths and more than 520,000 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began.

So far, Tunisia has vaccinated 830,000 people out of a total population of 11.6 million.

Read more:

Tunisia says health care system collapsing due to rapid outbreak of COVID-19

Aid offers hope as Tunisia struggles to cope with rise in COVID-19 cases

Saudi Arabia delivers vital COVID-19 aid to Tunisia