On Oct. 31, authorities in Tunisia have imposed a nationwide nightly curfew across the country as part of the nation's efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A nightly 1900-0400 curfew has been imposed Mondays through Fridays and 1800-0400 on Saturdays and Sundays. Authorities have not clarified how long the restrictions will remain in place; however, the measures will most likely remain in effect through Nov. 15.
Other restrictions that have been introduced include the following:
- All travel between governorates has been banned, except for work travel and medical emergencies. Tunis, Manouba, Ariana, and Ben Arous governorates are exempt from the measure.
- Schools and universities will remain closed through at least Nov. 8.
- All restaurants and cafes must close by 1500 daily. All restaurants and cafes may only operate at 30-percent capacity in confined spaces and 50-percent capacity in open spaces.
- All public and private events have been suspended through at least Nov. 15.
- All gatherings of more than 4 people are prohibited; the measure does not apply to public transport.
- Places of worship have been closed through at least Nov. 15.
- Protective face coverings or masks are mandatory in public areas.
- Public transportation continues to operate at 50-percent capacity to avoid overcrowding.
Despite the recent local curfew mandates, authorities have eased many COVID-19 restrictions. 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.
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.