Libya closes schools over virus fears

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A view of a classroom empty of students inside a closed school as teachers strike to demand a salary increase in Benghazi, Libya October 17, 2019. Picture taken October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
Libya’s rival governments have announced a two-week closure of schools and universities./ October 17, 2019. Picture taken October 17, 2019. REUTERS

Libya’s rival governments on Friday both announced a two-week closure of schools and universities over fears of the novel coronavirus arriving in the country.

The education ministries of the Tripoli-based unity government and its eastern-based rival announced in separate statements that all the country’s schools, both public and private, will be closed from Sunday.

War-torn Libya is largely divided between forces backing the Government of National Accord and those of eastern-based military commander

Khalifa Haftar, who backs a rival administration in the country’s east.

To date, no cases of Covid-19 have been reported by either administration, but experts fear an outbreak could be catastrophic due to the country’s degraded health system.

Haftar’s forces have been battling since last April to seize the capital, and hundreds of schools were already closed since the start of the offensive due to the fighting.

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