June 08, 2020

Tunisia reopened its borders on Saturday 27 June, more than three months after the decision to close them as part of the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, several Tunisian media reported. The decision to reopen the borders is part of the Tunisian government’s desire to revive the tourism industry on which the country’s economy is heavily dependent. As the pandemic continues to rage in many countries around the world, Tunisia has in this context established a health protocol for travellers wishing to visit Tunisia.

Algeria in the “red” list?
The Ministry of Health has thus set up two lists, one green and one orange, of countries according to the level of risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Travellers from the green list countries are not subject to any conditions. Travellers from amber-listed countries will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours before travel. Confusion reigns regarding the situation of countries not on the green and amber lists, prompting the Tunisian Ministry of Health to specify, this Saturday, June 27, that countries not on any list are classified red. Algeria being neither on the green list nor the orange list, it is therefore de facto on the red list, countries from which only Tunisians can arrive, explained the Tunisian health ministry quoted by the AFP agency. This announcement contradicts the claims of the Tunisian authorities on Thursday. They had evoked a bilateral agreement with Algeria. “In their official correspondence, the Tunisian authorities do indeed evoke the conclusion of a specific and bilateral agreement or arrangement with Algeria and Libya,” an Algerian diplomatic source confirmed to TSA on Saturday. The protocol has also been criticised by the Tunisian media. “Nobody understood anything about the health protocol for travellers arriving in Tunisia, nor the famous colour lists of countries,” the Tunisie Numérique headline said on Saturday. “Tunisia opens its borders today. Except that the authorities who decided this do not know to whom they are going to open them, nor how and under what conditions,” the Tunisian media said.

“As usual, the government, instead of proposing a well-studied and well-thought-out solution, has preferred to take us out of the shadows, hazy and unfinished solutions, with sketches of solutions, without details and without following up ideas,” the same source criticised, Stressing “the lack of details of the protocols to be respected for each colour of the list, which means that, even if the traveller knows in which list his or her country of origin is listed, he or she does not know precisely what he or she is going to have to do or what he or she has to present with it on arrival in Tunisia”. Nine planes are scheduled to arrive in Tunisia this Saturday, the majority coming from France and Italy. People staying in hotels will have to limit their outings to group excursions, the Tunisian Health Ministry said, while the others have to commit in writing to a fourteen in their place of residence. In addition, the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism announced on Friday that the country has been classified as a Covid-Safe destination by the World Travel and Tourism Council, Webdo reports. The “Safe Travel Stamp”, the exact name of the status, is a status allowing the World Travel and Tourism Council to certify the country as a “safe destination that can accommodate tourists in complete safety”, the same source specifies.

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