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20 Mar 2020 | 09:29 PM UTC

Tunisia: Government orders general lockdown March 22 /update 5

President Kais Saied orders nationwide lockdown from March 22 to April 4 to prevent further spread of COVID-19; all non-essential movement banned

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Event

On Friday, March 20, President Kais Saied announced that a general lockdown will be in effect across all of Tunisia starting on Sunday, March 22, to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The restrictions will remain in place until April 4. All non-essential movement is banned during the lockdown and President Saied said that food and vital service will still be provided by the state.

As of Friday, all international flights remain suspended and the borders are closed. All gatherings are banned and mosques, cafés, and markets are shut.

As of March 20, 54 cases of COVID-19 and one associated fatality have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.