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Tunisia to Take Measures Against Coronavirus

Tunisia to Take Measures Against Coronavirus

Tuesday, 17 March, 2020 - 07:45
An employee arranges sunbathing chairs on a beach near the Hasdrubal Hotel in Hammamet, Tunisia (Reuters)

Tunisia’s Speaker Rached Ghannouchi called for an urgent meeting of the heads of the parliamentary blocs to discuss the economic and social developments in Tunisia and the effects of the novel Coronavirus.

Ghannouchi also plans to call for an accountability session to question the government on the country’s health situation. He will also address the required urgent decisions and measures in the framework of the utmost unity, teamwork, and speed of interaction with the developments.

Ghannouchi said that these two meetings aim to promote coordination between the parliament and the government to overcome the crisis and study the government’s legal proposals to overcome these difficult social, economic, and health circumstances.

On Monday, the Tunisian government held an urgent session during which ministers discussed a plan that addresses the economic and social repercussions of the coronavirus crisis.

The Prime Minister did not attend the session, raising speculations about the reasons for his absence.

Fakhfakh said in a televised speech that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 24. He announced a new set of preventive measures, including the closure of air and land borders, except for goods and certain evacuation flights.

The measures will take effect on March 18.

Last week, Fakhfakh announced a number of urgent preventive measures to confront COVID-19. He explained that measures were taken to prevent the third stage of the pandemic.

Maritime borders will be closed to all countries while air borders with Italy will be suspended permanently, and all passengers arriving to Tunisia are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Tunisian authorities are expected to increase the strict procedures after the health authorities predicted a rise in the number of confirmed cases, which will have a negative impact on a number of economic activities, especially the tourism sector and transportation.

Former Minister of Economy Hakim Ben Hammouda predicted the losses of the national economy to range between $660 million and $2.2 billion.

This will likely be reflected on the job opportunities in Tunisia, increasing the unemployment rate from 1.5 percent to 4.1 percent during the coming period.

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