As part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), authorities in Tunisia imposed additional restrictions across the country Oct. 25. The new measures are due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Restrictions have been added in the following locations:
- Greater Tunis Area: A nightly curfew that is in effect 2100-0500 Monday through Friday and 1900-0500 on Saturdays and Sundays has been extended through Nov. 6. All nonessential businesses will close during the curfew.
- Sousse Governorate: A nightly 2200-0500 curfew has been extended through Nov. 4. All nonessential businesses will close during the curfew hours. Public gatherings remain banned.
- Djerba Island: A 2100-0500 nightly curfew remains in effect indefinitely.
- Bizerte Governorate: As of Oct. 25, a 2100-0500 nightly curfew is in place until further notice. Only essential businesses will be allowed to operate during the curfew.
- Gabes Governorate: As of Oct. 25, the governorate's 2100-0500 nightly curfew has been extended until further notice. Restaurants and cafes may only provide takeaway services.
- Kef Governorate: A 2030-0500 nightly curfew has been extended through Oct. 31 in a number of areas throughout the governorate. Authorities have suspended Friday prayers and banned travel outside El Kef city. Restaurants and cafes may operate at 50 percent capacity.
- Kasserine Governorate: Authorities have extended a nightly 2000-0500 curfew in the governorate. Weekly markets have been shut down and public baths have been ordered to close. Reduced working hours for government workers and a ban on all public gatherings remain in effect. Authorities have not clarified how long the measures will remain in place.
- Monastir Governorate: A nightly 2000-0600 curfew has been extended through Oct. 30. All nonessential businesses must close during the curfew hours. Public gatherings remain banned.
- Zaghouan Governorate: A nightly 2100-0500 curfew has been extended through Nov. 8 in several areas, including El Fahs and Zriba. Authorities have banned all public gatherings and closed markets and public baths in the delegations. Restaurants and cafes are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.
- Sidi Bouzid Governorate: A nightly 2000-0600 curfew has been extended through Oct. 30 in the city of Sidi Bouzid and the Essabela delegation. All nonessential businesses remain closed during curfew, and large gatherings have been banned.
- Tozeur Governorate: A nightly curfew that is in effect 2000-0500 Mondays through Fridays and 1800-0500 on Saturdays and Sundays has been extended through Oct. 30.
- Siliana Governorate: A nightly 2100-0500 curfew has been declared in the delegation of Bargou through Nov. 10. Travel to and from Bargou has been banned and only essential businesses may operate during the curfew.
- Nabeul Governorate: A nightly 2000-0500 curfew has been extended through Nov. 4 in several of the governorate's delegations.
Despite the recent local curfew mandates, authorities have eased many COVID-19 restrictions. The nationwide curfew is no longer in effect; however, local governments have the authority to impose their own curfews. Land, sea, and air borders have reopened with restrictions and requirements for all persons entering the country. Entry requirements into Tunisia vary depending on the prevalence of COVID-19 in a traveler's country of origin. Authorities have classified countries as green, orange, or red.
- Travelers arriving from countries designated "green" or locations deemed low-risk for COVID-19 transmission are not required to take a test or self-isolate upon arrival.
- Travelers arriving from countries designated "orange" or locations deemed moderate-risk for COVID-19 transmission must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to departure, quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival, and sign a declaration to abide by these measures. Tunisians are requested to self-isolate for 14 days at home.
- Travelers arriving from "red" countries or locations deemed high-risk for COVID-19 transmission are not permitted to enter Tunisia. Tunisian nationals and residents are exempt. Authorities will place such persons in mandatory quarantine for seven days.
Domestically, the following measures remain in place:
- Protective face coverings or masks are mandatory in public areas.
- Private and public schools remain closed. Universities have reopened with strict hygiene measures in place.
- Nonessential businesses have been permitted to resume operations at 70-percent capacity. Restaurants and cafes have reopened with social-distancing measures in place.
- Public transportation continues to operate at 50-percent capacity to avoid overcrowding.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
Background and Analysis
Tunisia's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions taken by other governments 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.
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.