Tunisia Government announces one week COVID-19 lockdown

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has on Friday announced a COVID-19 lockdown ahead of next week’s Eid Al Fitr holiday.

According to Mechichi, the week-long restrictions from Sunday were being imposed as there was “real danger” that “the health system will collapse”.

Tunisian News Agency reports that the nationwide general lockdown from May 9 to 16 included “a curfew from 7pm to 5am, inter-city travel ban, suspending prayers in mosques and closing daily and weekly markets and all hypermarkets and malls”.

Tunisia has already suspended school classes, imposed mandatory quarantine and a curfew as cases mounted and intensive care wards filled.

The country reported 1,410 new cases and 86 deaths on Thursday. The health ministry said there were 2,684 patients admitted to public and private hospitals with COVID-19, which has claimed more than 11,200 lives in the country so far.

Despite the rising infections, Mr. Mechichi rejected another full lockdown like the one Tunisia imposed last year, saying the country could not afford it.

Tunisia’s economy shrank by 8.8 per cent last year.