Algeria halts ease of anti-coronavirus lockdown amid continued pandemic

A woman wearing a protective face mask disinfects the window of a bus, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Algiers, Algeria March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

Algerian Health Minister Abderrahman Benbouzid said on Monday that the government will not ease or lift lockdown measures as long as the epidemic continues.

“Such a decision cannot be envisaged unless there is a noticeable and lasting improvement of the health situation,” Benbouzid was quoted as saying by the official APS news agency during a visit to the province of Medea.

Algeria on Monday said 168 new cases of infections were reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total tally to 5,891, while the death toll hit 507 and the recoveries reached 2,841.

On Feb. 25, Algeria registered the first confirmed COVID-19 case and on March 12, the first death was reported.

A few days later, a total lockdown was imposed on the province of Blida, epicenter of the pandemic, while the capital Algiers was subjected to partial lockdown.

The government has extended the lockdown measure until May 14.