Tunis, 16 march 2020 – On Sunday, the Tunisian director of the Observatory of New and Emerging Diseases (OMNE) at the Ministry of Public Health, Nissaf Ben Alaya, announced two new positive cases for the COVID-19 coronavirus in the North-African country. The number increased from 18 to 20 cases. Nissaf Ben Alaya said that out of a total of 20 cases, 11 are imported from abroad. In addition, 9 cases were locally infected. The two new confirmed cases are two people 29 and 33 years old. The first is from the town of Kairouan in the central region while the second case is in the capital Tunis. They have returned from countries affected by this epidemic. Local authorities confirmed that these two individuals didn’t show symptoms of contamination on the day of their arrival in Tunisia. However, they were quarantined until confirmation of their coronavirus infection following laboratory tests. Blood samples were also taken to check the health of their relatives.
Tunisia has created a voluntary fund dedicated to fighting the coronavirus outbreak and reducing its economic repercussions, the Ministry of Finance said in a note released on Sunday. Tunisia health sector infrastructure is weak and the Government suspended prayers at mosques, closed cafes from 16,00 local time and cancelled all cultural, sports and economic gatherings. Tunis also suspended all air connections with Italy and reduced to one flight for day to and from France, Germany, Algeria and Morocco. Tunis also decided to close its borders with Libya and ordered a quarantine of 15 days for foreigners visiting the country. Tunisia’s neighbour Algeria has registered 2 deaths for Covid-19, Egypt as well has recorded several cases. Libya didn’t record any case so far and the Prime Minister of the Tripoli based Government of National Accord (GNA) announced the closure of ports and land passing borders, and the suspensions of international air connections.
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