Tunisian President Kais Saied Lifts Coronavirus-Related Nationwide Curfew

Tunisian President Kais Saied on Monday ordered lifting of a nationwide curfew imposed in March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, citing success in controlling the disease, reported Reuters.

In a statement released by Tunisian Presidency, Saied announced lifting the curfew on the whole country starting from Monday, June 8. The curfew has been imposed since March 17 to limit the spread of coronavirus disease. Tunisia reported its first coronavirus case on March 2.

According to the statement, the decision was taken after consultation with the President of Parliament Rached Ghanouchi and the head of government Elyes Fakhfakh. The announcement comes as Tunisia did not report any new Covid-19 cases since Friday.

The North African country has already reopened shops, businesses, mosques, cafes and hotels after locking down nearly all normal business activity for months. The movement between cities has also been resumed again.

However, schools will stay closed to most students until the start of the new academic year in September and the government still restricts social gatherings at homes and urges the wearing of masks.

The nationwide curfew had been originally set from 8 pm to 6 am, but was shortened to 11 pm to 5 am in mid-May, after no coronavirus cases were reported in for consecutive three days.

Earlier this month, the Tunisian government announced it will open its sea, land and air borders on June 27, in hopes of rescuing its tourism industry as the coronavirus pandemic comes under control.

The Tunisian authorities said travelling between Tunisia and other countries will depend depend on other governments and their coronavirus measures. Tunisia has recorded 1,070 cases and 48 deaths, with only two people still in hospital.

The Tunisian government has forecast its economy is likely to shrink up to 4.3% this year, the steepest drop since 1956 independence. It is expected that the country’s important tourism sector could lose $1.4 billion and 400,000 jobs this year due to the pandemic.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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