Tunisia orders army into streets to enforce coronavirus lockdown

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Army soldiers sit on a truck outside a sports hall where ballot boxes and election material are collected to be distributed to polling stations, ahead of Sunday's presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia September 14, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied ordered the army to deploy in the streets to force people to respect a lockdown imposed to halt the spread of coronavirus, the office of the presidency said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Army soldiers sit on a truck outside a sports hall where ballot boxes and election material are collected to be distributed to polling stations, ahead of Sunday’s presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia September 14, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Tunisia has 89 confirmed cases of the virus. It imposed a curfew last week and a general lockdown from Sunday that keeps people in their homes except to buy necessities.

Meanwhile, in South Africa where coronavirus cases have soared to more than 400, the South African National Defence Force is deploying troops to help in the fight against the virus.

A South African Army Infantry Formation warning order calls for the deployment of two sub-units of a battalion in Gauteng, the nation’s economic heartland. One sub-unit is to be posted to each of South Africa’s remaining eight provinces, according to the order dated March 22 and signed by Brigadier-General Bayanda Mkula.

“This conceptually entails supporting other government departments in terms of disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and crisis response,” it said. All leave has been canceled while the order is in force, which will be at least 21 days and as long as three months, it said.

The army will give assistance to the police and the forces are encouraged to execute tasks, such as searches and cordons, in concert.

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