Algeria extends lockdown for 21 days as COVID-19 cases hike

People are seen on a street in Algiers, Algeria, on March 23, 2021. Algeria on Tuesday reported 94 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the North African country to 116,349. (Xinhua)

The Algerian government on Sunday decided to extend the lockdown for 21 days amid a hike in COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, the Prime Minister Office said the lockdown extension should be implemented in 14 provinces, including the capital Algiers, that are witnessing a remarkable increase in COVID-19 cases.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Abderrahman Benbouzid told the state-run television ENTV that the recent increase of infections is largely due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Benbouzid said the ministry is working to provide more resuscitation beds and oxygen for COVID-19 patients, adding hotels, ships, and field hospitals will be mobilized when necessary to cope with the recent rise in infection cases.

He also indicated that the vaccination against the virus will be carried out in homes, mosques, and schools to have more vaccinated.

The government also urged the citizens to wear face masks constantly and respect hygiene and social distancing rules to break the chain of infection.

The health ministry reported on Sunday 786 new COVID-19 cases, 12 fatalities and 519 recoveries, while admitting 39 patients to intensive care units.