Algeria’s Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerrad on Tuesday said the government has decided to extend measures aimed at restricting movement by 15 more days to cope with rising cases of infections with the novel coronavirus, reported Reuters.
This is the third lockdown extension decision, as the second one is due to expire on Thursday. The restrictions will now be in place until May 29.
Algeria registered its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Feb. 25, an Italian national who was subsequently sent back home. The first coronavirus related death was reported on March 12.
As a precaution to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country, the government had imposed a total lockdown on the province of Blida, epicenter of the pandemic, while the capital Algiers was subjected to partial lockdown.
Last month, the Algerian government decided to extend until May 14 restrictions on movement including a nationwide night curfew and closures of universities, schools and mosques. Public transport and air travel are still suspended. The authorities this month ordered the closure of businesses including shops for clothing, shoes and pastry just days after being reopened for not observing social distancing.
“Some behaviour that may take us back are to be avoided,” Djerrad said.
Health Minister Abderrahman Benbouzid said that Algeria has avoided the worst scenario as the country was quick enough to implement treatment protocols and mobilize all sectors, including the health sector.
He reiterated that the figures of newly confirmed cases are announced every day and may raise concern of the population, but he reassured that the increasing number of infections is due to the increase of detection sites currently estimated at 20 nationwide.
The North African country, a major oil and gas exporter, has reported 5,891 confirmed infections, with the death toll hit 507 and the recoveries reached 2,841.