Tunisia imposes night curfew to slow second wave of pandemic

TUNIS: Tunisian authorities will impose a curfew in the capital Tunis to slow a surge in coronavirus cases, months after stopping a first wave with an expensive lockdown that the government says it cannot afford to repeat.

###

The governors of four provinces that make up greater Tunis said in a statement broadcast on state TV that there would be a curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. and a suspension of Friday prayers in mosques. The curfew will take effect from Thursday. State TV said the curfew would start at 7 p.m. on weekends.

###

“The decision has come too late but it will help us break the rise in cases,” said Imed Souissi, a fruit seller.

###

Tunisia entirely shut down its economy in March and closed its borders, limiting the spread of coronavirus to a few hundred confirmed cases. But it has now racked up more than 20,000 over the past month, with only 200 intensive care beds designated for COVID-19 available in the whole country.

###

Elyes Fakhfakh, who stepped down as prime minister last month after denying allegations of a business conflict of interest, has announced he has tested positive, as has the leader of a major party, Abir Moussi.

###

Many Tunisians say the authorities should have done more to prepare with the time secured by the economic hardship of the lockdown.

###

“The Tunisian political class lost its opportunity to be ready for a second wave. What did they do to prepare over the past months? Nothing. They were just focused on their usual disputes,” said Chaker ben Hussein, a baker in the Iben Khaldoun district of Tunis.

###

Even before the pandemic, Tunisia was grappling to reverse a decade of sluggish growth, high unemployment, declining public services and concerning levels of sovereign debt.

###

The economy contracted by 21% in the second quarter as unemployment rose by 3 points to 18%, with expectations it will exceed 20% by the end of the year. The government has said the crisis has cost it 6 billion dinars ($2.2 billion) so far.

###

A political crisis has rumbled since an election last year, with the fragmented parliament taking months to produce a government in January that lasted just eight months.

###

The new government, of which Hichem Mechichi is the new prime minister, is also seen as fragile and has rejected another lockdown.

Click Here: Putters

Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *