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Tunisian president Kais Saied promises not to "lose the fight" as covid deaths climb

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Tunisian President Kais Saied has received his first dose of vaccine and promises not to "lose the war" against the coronavirus in Tunisia, where the health situation is considered catastrophic and the vaccination campaign too slow. 

The country, which recorded only about fifty deaths from March to August 2020, is currently at more than 16,000 deaths, with records of 194, 189 or 134 new daily deaths recorded in recent days.

"We are in a catastrophic situation ... the health system has collapsed, we can only find a bed in hospitals with great difficulty," said health ministry spokesperson Nisaf Ben Alaya on Monday.

Intensive care units are full and there is a severe shortage of oxygen, officials said.

The latest aid brings to 2 million vaccine doses donated to Tunisia, where vaccinations lag far behind other countries. So far, only 730,000 people have been fully vaccinated out of a total of 11.6 million residents.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia said it will send a medical aid package to Tunisia which includes one million doses of vaccine to help the North African country control the rapid spread of the virus.

While Ons Jabeur, who became the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last week, announced on Monday that she is auctioning one of her racquets to help hospitals in her native Tunisia fight Covid-19.

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