Tunisian President Qais Sayed said on Wednesday that the military health ministry would take over the management of the country’s health crisis amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Tunisia is struggling to cope with the resurgence of the virus: intensive care units are overcrowded and doctors are overwhelmed by the rapid rise in morbidity and mortality, as well as lack of oxygen.
Sayed’s comments came after Prime Minister Hitchim Mecici fired Health Minister Fauzi Mehdi on Tuesday amid exchanges of accusations of the effectiveness of the pandemic fight and the slow pace of the vaccination campaign.
Mecici accused a relative of Sayed Mehdi of making “criminal” decisions that led to overcrowding and chaos at vaccination centers.
But Syed, who disagreed with Mecici about their respective powers and political alliances, said the violence, chaos and overcrowding at vaccination centers on Tuesday had been provoked by people within the political system.
“The Department of Military Health will take over the management of the health crisis in the country,” he said in a comment to Saudi television company Al Arabiya during a visit to a vaccination center in Tunisia.
This month, Tunisia received aid from Europe and Arab countries, including about three million doses of vaccine and field hospitals, as it is experiencing a severe financial crisis in history and is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in this North African country, there have been about 18,000 deaths and more than 550,000 cases of coronavirus infection.
At present, only 940,000 people have been fully vaccinated out of a population of 11.6 million.