‘First drop of rain’: Libya receives Russia’s Sputnik vaccine

More than 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID vaccine arrived at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport.

More than 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have arrived at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport, the first shipment to reach Libya.

Some 1,000 new coronavirus cases are announced daily by the National Centre for Disease Control, posing a challenge to a health sector ravaged by years of conflict.

“It is the first drop of rain. Thank God, we are able to supply the first batch of corona vaccine,” interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah said in a tweet on Sunday.

“The rest of the shipment will arrive in succession.”

A box of the vaccine was shown being unloaded from a cargo plane in a social media post by the health ministry, saying it would be moved to the ministry’s warehouses before distribution.

In February, the disease control centre launched an electronic registration campaign for vaccinations for those aged over 18.

No details on the numbers of those registering have been disclosed. Libya has a population of about 6.5 million.

The country has recorded almost 200,000 infections since the outbreak of the pandemic, including 2,684 deaths.

Libya has been torn by division and violence for a decade since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and split between warring western and eastern factions in 2014.

Dbeibah’s new unity government took office last month with a mandate to improve services and prepare for a national election in December.

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