Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Tunisia ban inter-governorate travel for Eid Al-Fitr May 24-26 to slow spread of COVID-19. Heightened security likely.

This alert affects Tunisia

This alert began 21 May 2020 18:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Eid restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: May 24-26
  • Impact: Heightened security, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Tunisia have announced that they will ban travel between cities and governorates for Eid Al-Fitr (the Feast of Breaking the Ramadan Fast), which is slated to begin May 24 in the country. The measure is intended to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Kasserine and Gafsa have banned entry and exit to and from the governorates from May 21-26 and May 22-25, respectively. Ministry of Interior authorities announced May 21 that security forces will be deployed to enforce the edict. Individuals who fail to comply with the order will face fines.

Other measures taken by the government of Tunisia include:

 

  • Nationwide nightly curfew hours of 2300-0500 will remain in place until further notice.
  • Critical services, such as banks, gas stations, and grocery stores, as well as government functions, including police and emergency services, remain operational.
  • Tunisia closed its land, air, and sea borders until further notice March 16; the measure only affects passenger traffic and does not apply to ground or air freight transport.



Background and Analysis
Tunisia's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential travel in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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