Tunisia set to receive first coronavirus jabs

Tunisia said Monday the first coronavirus vaccines were set to arrive to start mass inoculation in the North African nation using Russia’s Sputnik V jabs.

An initial 30,000 doses are due to arrive Tuesday from Russia, followed by 500,000 doses “in coming weeks”, a presidency statement read, citing “constant diplomatic efforts” to procure them.

Tunisia, which has some 11.7 million inhabitants and has recorded 237,704 Covid-19 cases including 8,201 deaths since the pandemic began, will be one of the last North African nations to start vaccinations.

The government had previously announced it was expecting an initial 94,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford jabs from mid-February, but delivery under the UN-led Covax scheme was delayed. Beijing last month also pledged to gift 100,000 doses.

A vaccination campaign is expected to begin in coming days.

Lockdown measures remain in place, although rules have been eased slightly, with an overnight curfew now starting at 10:00 pm instead of 8:00 pm.

For travellers, mandatory quarantine at a hotel has been replaced by self-isolation at home for 48 hours.