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Angelina Jolie Impersonator Draws Ire Over Coronavirus Skit on Tunisian TV
A scene from "Angelina 19," Episode 16, "Najla Tounsia."(Screenshot: NessmaTV/YouTube)

Angelina Jolie Impersonator Draws Ire Over Coronavirus Skit on Tunisian TV

The skit features people getting sick after getting an approved vaccine

On Tunisia’s version of Punk’d, an old MTV show where celebrities played pranks on each other, called Angelina 19, an Angelina Jolie impersonator has sparked controversy through a skit involving the coronavirus vaccine.

In the latest episode of the show, some individuals fall ill after “receiving” the coronavirus vaccine, which has been generously underwritten by the actress. Prior to receiving the vaccine, a fake medical expert vouches for the inoculation, touting its approval by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to regional media reports, WHO has denounced the show and asked the government for a moratorium on airings.

Dr. Yves Souteyrand, the organization’s country representative, is quoted as saying: “It is known that part of the population is reluctant to be vaccinated and that significant efforts should be made to build confidence vis-à-vis the vaccine.”

In the MENA region, vaccine hesitancy is particularly problematic in Tunisia. In a Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 February Survey, two-thirds of the 1,219 respondents were unsure that they would get vaccinated if they were offered a jab.

Elsewhere in the region, Turkey has instituted a complete lockdown that will end May 17 after experiencing an especially high volume of COVID cases. According to Reuters, Istanbul announced on April 28 that it would obtain from Russia 50 million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine.

Some MENA countries will adopt more restrictions over Orthodox Easter, which is celebrated on May 2.

Egypt has prohibited groups from meeting in the midst of a growing number of newly diagnosed cases.

Lebanon will implement a full lockdown from May 1 through May 3 for the holiday.

Iran, which is struggling under a wave of infections, reached the grave milestone of 70,000 deaths on April 28, according to government figures.

Like elsewhere in the world, the economic consequences in the Islamic Republic, in addition to the health impact, have been disastrous. In an article released April 29 by the Atlantic Council, nonresident senior fellow Nadereh Chamlou argues that Iranian women are especially suffering financially due to a drop in female employment.

“The 2020 decline in male participation was 2%, from 71 to 69%. By comparison, the women’s already low LFP [labor force participation] of 18% in 2019 had fallen to 14% by 2020.”

Lastly, in Bloomberg’s monthly COVID Resilience rankings for best countries to reside in during the pandemic, two Middle Eastern countries made the top 10: Israel was No. 4 on the list and the United Arab Emirates placed 8. Singapore achieved the highest marks.

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of 3 pm Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0) on Thursday.


CountryConfirmed CasesDeathsRecoveredActive Cases
Palestinian Territories295,6013,231271,23321,137
Saudi Arabia416,3076,946399,5099,852
United Arab Emirates518,2621,584498,94317,735


Steven Ganot contributed to this report.

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