More vaccination centres
THE MINISTRY of Health and Population added 98 new vaccination centres across the country to accelerate the administration of the coronavirus shots. The decision comes after the ministry received a flood of complaints over the slow rollout of the shots and long waiting lists, especially among individuals who were among the first to register for a jab. So far, 600,000 people have registered for the vaccine on the ministry’s designated website.
Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 infections in Egypt is escalating once more, marking the beginning of a third wave of the virus. According to Khaled Megahed, the spokesman for the Ministry of Health, the number of infections since the beginning of the first wave has passed 200,000, whereas deaths are around 12,000. Those who survived the virus number 154,000.
“The recovery rate from Covid-19 at the country’s isolation hospitals has reached 76.7 per cent,” Megahed said.
Since January, Egypt has been conducting mass vaccination campaigns, starting with the country’s healthcare workers, then elderly people with chronic diseases who registered online via a designated website.
The vaccines being used in the campaign are the Chinese Sinopharm and the British-Swedish Oxford-AstraZeneca which were granted emergency use by authorities in January. The country has obtained 700,000 doses of the two vaccines which would be sufficient for 350,000 citizens.
THE DEADLINE for receiving reconciliation requests over construction violations ended on 31 March, allowing the demolition of buildings that were built against the law. Accordingly, the Reconciliation Law on Building Violations will be implemented, allowing the demolition of buildings the owners of which have not reconciled.
The government has issued a mandate to all security directors nationwide to fully coordinate in this regard. This will also ensure that security forces are equipped to secure the process of removing buildings that violate the law.
According to a source in the local administration, inhabited buildings which did not submit a request for reconciliation will receive neither electricity nor water. Uninhabited buildings will be immediately demolished. Residents who have submitted a reconciliation request and cannot afford paying a fine can pay 25 per cent of the sum, while the remaining amount would be paid on four-year installments. Those who pay the whole amount in cash will receive a 25 per cent discount.
The government has asked citizens to reconcile over building violations. Reconciliation requests are accepted when safety standards in a building are met. Although the government has received over two million reconciliation requests over the past seven months and collected more than LE16 billion as reconciliation fees, there are more than 300,000 reconciliation requests that have not been submitted.
Reconciliation Law 17/2019, amended by Law 1/2020, aims to end violations, eradicate slums, restore a “civilised” image of streets, and stop encroachments on agricultural lands and the country’s public properties.
New trains arrive
FOUR new railway carriages from Russia have arrived in the port of Alexandria.
The carriages are part of a deal that the Railways Authority signed with the Russian company Transmash which represents a Hungarian-Russian group, valued at one billion euros to supply 1,300 new passenger train cars.
The agreement, announced by the Ministry of Transport and signed with the Railways Authority, stipulates that 51 per cent of the contracted 1,300 vehicles will be manufactured in Hungary as the financier of the deal, while the rest of the vehicles will be manufactured in Russia.
So far, the Egyptian Railway Authority has received 243 vehicles.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 1 April, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly