Tunisia Runs Out of ICU Beds as COVID-19 Variant Spreads

People wait to get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside a mobile testing lab in Tunis, Tunisia. Reuters
People wait to get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside a mobile testing lab in Tunis, Tunisia. Reuters
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Tunisia Runs Out of ICU Beds as COVID-19 Variant Spreads

People wait to get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside a mobile testing lab in Tunis, Tunisia. Reuters
People wait to get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside a mobile testing lab in Tunis, Tunisia. Reuters

Tunisian hospitals have run out of intensive care beds amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, a member of the independent scientific committee that advises the government said on Thursday.

Amenallah Messadi told Reuters the health system had been pushed to the point of collapse by a rise in cases driven by the more infectious coronavirus variant first detected in Britain.

The scientific committee was considering whether to recommend another border closure to avoid the spread of another variant first detected in Brazil, he added. Tunisia briefly closed its borders during the first wave of the virus.

"The situation is very critical, medical staff are exhausted, ICUs have reached their maximum capacity and deaths are on the rise," he said.

Tunisia has recorded 291,000 coronavirus cases and about 10,000 deaths. The daily death rate which has hovered around 80 for the past two weeks reached 95 on Tuesday.

Authorities closed all schools last week until April 30 and banned people from driving cars from 7 p.m. to 5.a.m. to try and restrict movement.



US Criticizes ICJ Opinion that Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories is Illegal

FILE PHOTO: A view shows mobile homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Haroeh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view shows mobile homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Haroeh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
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US Criticizes ICJ Opinion that Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories is Illegal

FILE PHOTO: A view shows mobile homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Haroeh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view shows mobile homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Haroeh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

The United States criticized "the breadth" of the top UN court's opinion in which the International Court of Justice said Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal, with Washington saying it will complicate efforts to resolve the conflict.
"We have been clear that Israel's program of government support for settlements is both inconsistent with international law and obstructs the cause of peace," a US State Department spokesperson said on Saturday in an email.
"However, we are concerned that the breadth of the court's opinion will complicate efforts to resolve the conflict and bring about an urgently needed just and lasting peace, with two states living side-by-side in peace and security," the State Department added.

In The Hague, ICJ presiding judge Nawaf Salam said: "The court has found... that Israel's continued presence in the Palestinian Territories is illegal."

Israel is "under the obligation to bring to an end its unlawful presence as rapidly as possible," the judge said in its finding, read at the Peace Palace, seat of the ICJ.

The ICJ added that Israel was "under an obligation to cease immediately all new settlement activities and to evacuate all settlers" from occupied land.

Israel's policies and practices, including the maintenance of a wall between the territories, "amount to annexation of large parts" of the occupied territory, the court said.