Algeria to close schools, universities after first coronavirus death

Reuters , Thursday 12 Mar 2020

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has ordered schools and universities to close until April 5 to slow the spread of the coronavirus, state media reported on Thursday, after the country's first registered death from the disease.

Algeria has confirmed 24 cases of coronavirus, mostly among members of a single family in the city of Blida, south of the capital.

The government has already ordered a range of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on spectators at football games and the suspension of all cultural, social and political gatherings.

The authorities have not clarified, however, whether the ban extends to weekly mass protests that have convulsed Algeria for more than a year, thrusting its long-established political class into crisis.

As well as political turmoil, economic troubles also threaten hydrocarbon producer Algeria as it wrestles with the coronavirus. A crash in global oil prices has compounded years of declining energy revenues that have drained half of Algeria's state currency reserves.

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