Algeria president urges discipline, says government able to counter COVID-19

A horizontal map image of Algeria
Newly elected Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune takes the oath during a swearing-in ceremony in Algiers, Algeria December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune urges citizens to stay disciplined to help overcome the coronavirus outbreak as the number of cases and deaths rose.

He is quoted saying on state television that the government is still able to handle the situation despite a fall in energy earnings which is the main source of the state’s finances.

“You must be disciplined. We lack discipline,” Tebboune said. “People must respect preventive measures and doctors’ advice.

However, some Algerians have ignored the measures taken by the government to limit the spread of the virus including a night curfew in 10 provinces and a full lock-down in the Bilda area, south of the capital Algiers.

The Algerian government plan to spend $100 million to import equipment including 100 million masks from China in addition to a local production of 90,000 masks per day.

“We have enough capabilities to cope with the crisis,” Tebboune said. “Regarding food, we have stocks for at least five months. There is no reason to panic.”

Since the start of the coronavirus, Algerians have rushed to buy staple foods including semolina and flour in large proportions causing shortages in some provinces.

The country will next week extend the closure of schools, universities and mosques, Tebboune said.