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Tunisia’s COVID-19 Cases Increase Tenfold

Tunisia’s COVID-19 Cases Increase Tenfold

Monday, 3 August, 2020 - 06:45
FILE PHOTO: Social distancing markers are seen on a bench due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Cologne-Bonn Airport in Cologne, July 28, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

A month after opening its borders and allowing tourists to enter the country, Tunisia said coronavirus cases in the country have increased tenfold.

Tunis has taken a series of tight measures to fight the pandemic since the first coronavirus case was recorded in March.

Tourism accounts for between eight and 14 percent of the country’s GDP, and employs around half a million people.

The novel coronavirus crisis has hit the sector hard, AFP reports.

Tourism revenues declined by around 50 percent between January 1 and July 10, compared to the same period last year, according to official figures.

As part of the measures necessary for a gradual return to normality and reopening the economy, the borders were opened on June 27 to tourists coming from countries classifies as "green", including France, Germany and Luxembourg, without being subject to any coronavirus restrictions.

The decision led to a tenfold increase in COVID-19 cases.

Among the cases are 26 Carthage International Airport employees in Tunis.

Although officials ruled out closing the airport, a meeting was held on Saturday to enhance preventive health measures at the airport.

On Sunday, the Health Ministry said nine more cases of COVID-19, including seven domestic, were recorded from 99 tests, bringing the country’s tally to 1,561 out of 96,288 total tests.

It said recoveries stand at 1,221 with 280 cases still active, including nine hospitalized and 51 deaths.

Schools across the country remain closed since March while Tunisia's national soccer League was held on Saturday night without an audience.

Land borders with neighboring countries, including Algeria and Libya, also remain shut.

Director General of the National Observatory of New and Emerging Diseases Nissaf Ben Alaya said that Tunisia has not yet come out of the danger zone.

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