Tunisia has declared a partial lockdown from Sunday for the week-long Eid al-Fitr holidays, warning that any further increase in coronavirus infections could overwhelm specialist care facilities.
The Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi made this announcement on Friday as a measure to control the virus, he said Tunisia is going through “the worst health crisis in its history”.
Mechichi said all Mosques, markets and non-essential businesses will be closed under the new restrictions, which come as Muslims prepare to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
He added that “… Health institutions are at risk of collapse,” medics were stretched to the limit, with around 100 people a day dying of Covid-19.
According to him,travel will be banned between regions, gatherings and celebrations are also prohibited under the new rules and a 7:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew was imposed.
More than 500 people are currently in intensive care, an unprecedented number that has required medics to set up field hospitals, and the North African country is struggling to meet the demand for oxygen.
The Mediterranean country, with a population of around 12 million, has recorded more than 300,000 coronavirus cases and over 11,200 deaths.
Tunisia’s economy has lurched from one crisis to another since the country’s 2011 revolution, with GDP estimated to have contracted by a record 8.2 percent last year.