RAMALLAH, Thursday, February 25, 2021 (WAFA) - Minister of Health Mai Alkaila said today that the epidemic situation in Palestine was extremely worrisome due to a surge in COVID-19 infections, higher hospital occupancy and increasing death rates among the youth.
Speaking to WAFA, Alkaila mentioned the case of a 29-year-old young man from Hebron and two women from the town of Dura, aged 47 and 51 respectively, who died of coronavirus today, and who all had no previous medical record.
The health minister said new mutations of coronavirus have been spreading at a worrying pace in the country, and that out of 460 random coronavirus tests, 352 bore the British mutation while 57 bore the South African one.
What makes these mutations more risky, said Alkaila, is that their higher infection capacity and lower responsivity to vaccines.
Concerning hospital bed occupancy rate for COVID-19 patients, Alkaila said occupancy in the West Bank has reached 58.6 percent of the overall available beds, and that occupancy of ventilators rose to 62 percent, the highest ever since the outbreak of the pandemic.
"We're approaching the maximum occupancy rate, and are currently working to expand the capacity of government and private hospitals, whom we have asked to allocate a ward for coronavirus patients so that we can manage the increasing numbers of infections," said the health minister. She continued: "So far, we are trying to absorb corona patients in hospitals run by the ministry (of health)."
Alkaila pointed out that the Ministry was awaiting vaccinations to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the population in Palestine, and said part of these vaccines were donated the State of Palestine, while others were purchased at the government's expense.
"We have completed an agreement to purchase two million doses of vaccines from AstraZeneca, and have made all the necessary procedures, from registering the vaccine and providing the company with all the necessary documents for the purchase agreement," she said.
"We are awaiting the supply of vaccines, and the company informed us that the vaccines will start arriving at the end of February and early March."