Tunisia orders lifting of coronavirus lockdown

Decision comes after health authorities said they continued to see a drop in the number of new infections.

Cars and people pass by the clock tower at the end of Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis
Authorities have so far recorded 1,087 coronavirus cases and 49 deaths in Tunisia [Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters]

Tunisian President Kais Saied has ordered the lifting of a nationwide curfew imposed in March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The decision, announced by the presidency in a statement on Monday, came after health authorities said they continued to see a drop in the number of infections.

Tunisia has record 1,087 coronavirus cases and 49 related deaths to date.

The North African country had already reopened shops, businesses, mosques, cafes and hotels after locking down nearly all normal business activity for months. 

Tunisia entered the crisis with only 500 intensive care beds equipped with ventilators, and the government said at the start of the outbreak the health system would struggle to cope with more than 5,000 cases.

It has added another 100 intensive care beds, including with the construction of a temporary facility at a sports centre in the capital, Tunis, and has improved readiness at public hospitals around the country, according to Jalila Ben Khelil, a member of government’s advisory committee.

City and town centres have become busier since the lockdown was relaxed to allow a wider range of shops to open, with markets crowded and public beaches busy.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies