Last Update 16:21
Sunday, 01 August 2021

Tunisia extends night-time curfew until end of year

Cafes may remain open until 7:00 pm but must remove their chairs from 4:00 pm onwards, while shisha pipes remain banned in all public spaces

AFP , Sunday 6 Dec 2020
Tunisia
Tunisians walk in the Habib Bourguiba avenue in the capital Tunis on May 12, 2020 AFP
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Tunisia on Sunday extended a night-time curfew until the end of the year in a bid to tackle spiking novel coronavirus cases, amid growing discontent and anti-government protests in the North African country.

Following a meeting of its anti-coronavirus taskforce, the government decided to "maintain the curfew from 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) until 5:00 am in all governorates, every day of the week," the health ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

Under the new measures, which take effect on Monday, masks "remain mandatory in all open spaces", the statement said, adding that private parties will be allowed with up to 30 people.

Cafes may remain open until 7:00 pm but must remove their chairs from 4:00 pm onwards, while shisha pipes remain banned in all public spaces, it added.

The statement did not mention a previous ban on travel between governorates.

Sunday's decision follows a series of angry protests to demand better public services, jobs and help from the state in the face of an economic crisis, days ahead of the 10th anniversary of Tunisia's uprising demanding political freedom and jobs.

Doctors demonstrated this week to demand the resignation of the health minister, after a young medic died in a hospital lift accident.

Badreddedine Aloui, 27, plunged to his death Thursday after the lift doors opened but with no elevator in place, witnesses interviewed by local media said.

Hundreds of doctors, health workers and medical students gathered in front of the health ministry in the capital Tunis on Friday, demanding the health minister and other officials be sacked.

On Sunday, a group of medical unions called for a shutdown of all non-emergency medical services and a "national day of rage" on Tuesday in protest at his death.

Tunisia had managed to keep its coronavirus outbreak largely contained early on, but cases have soared since it opened its borders in June, with hospital officials warning they are struggling to cope.

The country of 11 million has officially registered over 100,000 cases of the Covid-19 illness and more than 3,500 deaths.

The pandemic has battered the country's economy, with GDP set to shrink by seven percent in 2020, according to International Monetary Fund projections.

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