Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Authorities in Tunisia shorten curfew hours related to COVID-19 May 13; new curfew of 2300-0500 to enter into force immediately.
This alert affects Tunisia
This alert began 13 May 2020 15:42 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, heightened security
On May 13, authorities in Tunisia shortened the nationwide curfew of 2000-0600 amid a gradual easing of restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new curfew hours of 2300-0500 will enter into force immediately and will remain in place until further notice.
Tunisian authorities began their first phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions, May 4, by reopening select sectors such as the food industry, government offices, public transportation, and construction. The first phase, which will last until May 24, also includes the reopening of shopping centers and clothing stores May 11. Individuals, however, must wear masks and maintain social distancing. Public transportation will only operate at 50-percent capacity to avoid overcrowding. Officials will reopen more sectors in the second and third phases, which will run from May 24-June 4 and June 4-14, respectively.
Other measures taken by the government of Tunisia include:
- Authorities previously imposed a stay-at-home order March 21-May 3. Public gatherings were limited to three people, except for individuals working on curbing the spread of COVID-19. The stay-at-home order prohibited residents from leaving their homes but allowed them freedom of movement to perform essential tasks, such as purchasing groceries or medications and obtaining medical treatment.
- Intercity and intergovernorate travel is still restricted.
- Critical services, such as banks, gas stations, and grocery stores, as well as government functions, including police and emergency services, remain operational.
- Authorities have established specialized quarantine centers throughout the country to isolate and treat those infected with COVID-19.
- 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.
- All private and public schools have also shut down.
Authorities could reimpose restrictions if the number of cases increases in the coming days.
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.
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.