Tunisia Health Minister Sacked Over Virus: Statement
Tunis, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 21st Jul, 2021 ) :Tunisia's Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi sacked Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi on Tuesday, Mechichi's office said, amid spiralling coronavirus cases in the North African country.
Mechichi's office announced Mehdi's sacking in a brief statement, without giving a reason for the move.
It said Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi would head the ministry in a caretaker capacity.
Mehdi had initiated a temporary opening of vaccination stations to all Tunisians over 18 for Tuesday and Wednesday, leading to stampedes.
The ministry finally restricted access to vaccination to those aged over 40 on Wednesday to avoid a new rush.
Health ministry spokeswoman Nissaf Ben Alya said on July 8 the health situation was "catastrophic", telling a local radio station that "unfortunately, the health system has collapsed".
Some bodies of Covid victims have been left lying in rooms next to other patients for up to 24 hours, because there were not enough staff to organise their transfer to overstretched mortuaries.
The health ministry's Facebook page said special field hospitals set up in recent months are no longer enough.
Since June 20, authorities have imposed a total lockdown on six regions and a partial lockdown in the capital.
Tunisians have lived through a decade of political instability and economic crisis since their 2011 revolution which overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, leaving vital public services crumbling.