Egypt to require virus vaccinations for civil servants

Audacy - The Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's government will soon require public servants to have a vaccination certificate or show a weekly negative COVID-19 test before entering their workplaces.

The government announced the new measures late Sunday. It said the requirements will be applied starting November 15. The measures also require public to show proof of vaccination to enter government buildings starting December 1, according to a government statement.

The idea is to encourage people to get vaccinations, as the country of over 100 million people suffers through a fourth wave of the pandemic.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said the government has secured more than 62 million shots of COVID-19 vaccine, with 7.8 million more shots expected to arrive this month.

She said around 31.7 million shots have been given to residents since the vaccination campaign was launched in January.

Prosecutors earlier this month ordered the detention of three workers at the Health Ministry after more than 13,400 vaccine doses were found dumped into a canal in the southern province of Minya.

The doses were part of 18,400 vaccine packages costing more than 5 million Egyptian pounds ($319,000) were found to be missing from the storage in the city of Beni Mazar.

The three workers, including a pharmacist, a driver and a warehouse director, face accusations of committing damage to public property and embezzlement.

The government has stepped up efforts in recent weeks to vaccinate students, teachers and university and school workers.

Earlier this year, Egypt mandated vaccinations for workers at tourist sites and resorts on the Red Sea and elsewhere in efforts to revive its battered tourism sector.

Egypt has seen a slight surge in confirmed cases in recent weeks, with an average of 800 cases reported every day this month.

The Health Ministry registered 871 cases and 44 fatalities on Sunday, bringing the tally to around 318,460 confirmed cases, including 17,970 deaths. However, the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher in part due to limited testing.