May 21, 2020

Inter-region travel between on Eid al-Fitr strictly forbidden, says Interior Minister

Travel between governorates on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr is strictly forbidden, Interior Minister Hichem M├ęchichi cautioned Thursday, suggesting that sanctions will be taken against any offender. “Anyone attempting to travel from one governorate to another will be turned back by security patrols,” he warned at a press conference in Kasbah to present the second phase of the targeted lockdown plan.

Force majeure, emergencies that pose an immediate risk of serious harm to health and life and individuals with specific authorisations to travel will be excluded from that measure. “The old travel authorisations granted to citizens to move to their work places are no longer valid during the Eid day,” the Minister said. According to Mechichi, the measure restricting travel between governorates as part of the national effort to control the new coronavirus will also be applied after Eid day, pending the improvement of the epidemiological situation in the country.

The minister said that “travel within Greater Tunis is a priori allowed”.M├ęchichi stressed that the “relative” success recorded in the fight against the pandemic is essentially due to the preventive measures taken and the cooperation of all parties, adding that the next stage will see a gradual resumption of economic activities. Furthermore, the Minister indicated that in parallel with the efforts to combat the epidemic (total lockdown and curfew), efforts are being made to strengthen the fight against terrorism and ensure border security. Painful strikes have been carried out against terrorists,” he said, “but they call for the utmost vigilance since there is no such thing as zero risks anywhere

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The Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh Thursday approved five draft decree-laws and a draft government decree, said government spokesperson Asma Shiri Laabidi

One of the draft decree-laws approved provides for measures to benefit the tourism and handicrafts sectors and another concerns derogatory provisions relating to travel agencies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the spokesperson said in a video posted on the government\\’s website. The Cabinet meeting also looked at a draft decree law on the electronic transmission of data and documents, she added. Shiri said particular emphasis was placed on a presentation made by the Minister of Finance on the state of public finances, without giving further details. At the beginning of the meeting, the Prime Minister stressed the need to “continue to show rigour and to monitor” the implementation of provisions relating to the 2nd phase of targeted lockdown, the government spokesperson said, recalling that this phase will run from May 25, to June 4, 2020.

Minister Asma Shiri said the meeting also emphasised the need to comply with the measures banning inter-city travel, especially during the Eid period, in order to avoid the risk of infection. She stressed that strict observance of this measure will be ensured and law will be applied to offenders. The texts approved by the Cabinet meeting consist of:

– A decree-law ratifying the loan agreement signed on May 11, 2020 in Tunis between the Tunisian Republic and the IBRD to finance the COVID-19 pandemic project;

– A decree-law enacting additional measures to support businesses affected by the pandemic and providing for a set of additional measures to assist public enterprises and specific provisions relating to companies in the tourism and handicrafts sectors;

– A draft Decree-Law laying down derogatory provisions relating to the electronic transmission of data and documents between public bodies and those exchanged between the latter and their counterparts, giving legal force to the electronic document, in addition to the digitisation of the process of administrative transactions;

– A draft decree-law laying down specific and derogatory provisions relating to the activity of travel agencies. The purpose of the text is to freeze the application of the sanction of temporary suspension of activity in the event of failure to respect the commitments made to customers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It also aims o allow customers of travel agencies to obtain vouchers for travel reservations, stays or excursions, while giving them the possibility of extending the time limits for the provision of services to which they could not have had access as a result of the pandemic;

– A draft decree-law setting out the provisions for the extension of concession contracts;

– A draft government decree appointing the members of a provisional administrative committee for the municipalities of Kesra (Siliana governorate) and Hassi El Frid (Kasserine governorate).

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