Tunisia Reimposes Night Curfew in Effort to Stop Virus Rise

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Tunisia announced on Wednesday a new order to stay home overnight for the next two weeks to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.

There will be a “curfew from 10:00 pm to 05:00 am”, following the recommendations of the government’s scientific committee, the presidency reported in a statement.

A. similar measure had been in effect since 2020, but the president springs said ended in September.

The presidency also ordered “the postponement or cancellation of all meetings or public demonstrations, in closed or open spaces.”

The new measures will take effect on Thursday, the day before the 11th anniversary of former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s flight into exile in a revolution that sparked the Arab uprisings of 2011.

The presidency also promised to speed up its vaccination campaign and urged the public to respect social distancing measures and wear masks.

He added that he would intensify controls on health passes, which are required since December 22 to enter public buildings, transport and shopping centers, rules that smaller establishments often ignore.

Tunisia– whose population of 12 million saw daily new covid infections by a few hundred throughout December – has seen an explosion of cases in January, surpassing 4,800 a day on Monday, along with 11 deaths.

Tunisia announced in early December its first case of the highly infectious Omicron coronavirus strain, which spread across the world and forced governments to impose new measures.

The situation is a reminder of a catastrophic wave of infections in Tunisia last July, when the North African country recorded some 200 daily deaths from the virus. Images of overwhelmed intensive care units sparked outrage and the country suffered the highest number of deaths per capita in the region.

That wave was reversed in part thanks to a massive vaccination campaign.

Roughly six million Tunisians, about half the population, are now fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University.

(AFP)

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