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12 Mar 2020 | 11:10 AM UTC

Algeria: First COVID-19 fatality confirmed March 12 /update 3

Government confirms first COVID-19-related death March 12; further spread of the virus expected over the near term



On Thursday, March 12, the Algerian Ministry of Health announced the first confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related death in the country. The ministry did not provide further details. Following this announcement, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune ordered schools and universities to close from Thursday through Sunday, April 5, to prevent further spread of the outbreak.

The government previously implemented a ban on spectators at sporting events and canceled all cultural, political, and social gatherings. It was not immediately clear if ongoing anti-government protests, typically held on Tuesdays and Fridays, would also be banned.

To date, there have been more than 20 recorded cases of COVID-19 in Algeria. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.


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, China). 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 labored 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.


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 nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by 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.