May 05 – 11, 2020 | Press Review

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

May 05, 2020: The basic breeding number (R0) has dropped to 0.9

The basic reproduction number (R0) fell to 0.9 in Tunisia, for the new coronavirus, COVID-19. In other words, a patient currently infects, on average, less than one person. Scientifically, this means that the disease is on the verge of extinction… unless there is a setback. Samir Abdelmoumen, emergency doctor and member of the commission to fight against the coronavirus, made this announcement today, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at the Tunis Afrique presse (Tap) agency. The R0 of the new coronavirus, whose world average is around 3.5, was around 4.5 in Tunisia before the start of the general sanitary containment, according to the official.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

May 05, 2020: In Tunisia, Health Minister reveals reasons to limit the spread of the Corona virus

The Minister of Health, Abdellatif Al-Makki, said today, Tuesday, that Tunisian traditions in the respect of hygiene conditions have contributed to reduce the spread of the Corona epidemic in the country. During a press conference held to celebrate National Health Day, the minister praised the established traditions of citizens in preserving health, particularly the culture of hand washing.

He stressed the importance of this preventive practice to support protection against disease, considering that the health system attaches the utmost importance to this aspect in raising awareness, as well as in maintaining the health and safety of treatment services. And that the Ministry of Health’s Centre for Health and Environmental Protection has been conducting awareness activities throughout the year to wash hands, explaining that the celebration of this year’s National Safer Hands Day coincided with the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. He stressed that handwashing contributes to a 30% reduction in illness, underscoring the need to support awareness and training and to provide the necessary equipment and preparations to ensure safe and protective conditions for tires and personnel working in the health sector.

For more information (in Arabic), please consult the following link.

May 05, 2020: Germany donates diagnostic equipment to Tunisia

Germany has donated batches of laboratory diagnostic equipment to Tunisia. This was to evaluate samples related to the screening of COVID-19. The Military Hospital and Pasteur Institute in Tunis will benefit from this donation of COVID-19 diagnostic equipment. This was announced yesterday by the German Embassy in Tunis on its official Facebook page. The joint actions between the two countries will continue. And this within the framework of the biological safety programme that has been underway for several years. In this regard, Tunisian and German biologists are working closely together in the area of reducing biological threats. In this sense, the embassy recalled that Germany has donated a mobile laboratory to Tunisia. The operation of this mobile laboratory was effective during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

May 06, 2020: The state borrows nearly 1.180 billion dinars from 12 resident banks

Finance Minister Nizar Yaiche, and the governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia, Marouane El Abassi, took part on May 5 in the signing ceremony of a syndicated loan in foreign currency from 12 resident banks, of 257 million euros at a rate of 2% and 130 million dollars at a rate of 2.75%, over three years.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

May 06, 2020: COVID-19 diagnostic tests – The questions everyone is asking

Many questions have been raised about the tests: how reliable they are, why are we not moving on to mass screening, are rapid tests accessible to the general public… Specialists have kindly agreed to answer these questions. We must admit that it is often unclear in our minds. We’ve talked a lot about it, then a little less. Announced the thing, and maybe not the other way around, but let’s say something else. We’ve talked about blood tests, some quick, some not so quick. Some expensive, and then not actually, much less than we thought. Some ordered but not arrived, others offered and already there. In a word, this testing business didn’t seem obvious, at least for us common mortals. On the assumption that what can be understood is clearly stated, we were asked for clarification from whomever we could. Having said that, we still had to have access to these people, as we understand that our scientists, who are certainly overwhelmed, are difficult to reach. But La Presse is tenacious, and even if we were accused of harassment, we persisted, and today we can pass on to you what we believe we have understood.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

May 07, 2020: “Coronavirus Sura” creates controversy in Tunisia

Freedom of speech or blasphemy? After sharing on Facebook a humorous text on COVID-19 imitating the form of a verse, a young Tunisian woman was accused of offending the Koran. The case is creating controversy and divides the press.

Is it “a joke that went wrong”? asks the independent news site Business News about the debate that is stirring Tunisia. The object of the scandal is the “coronavirus sura”, a pastiche that imitates the structure and even the ornament of a Koranic text. Tunisian blogger Emna Chargui shared it on her Facebook news feed, without suspecting that the text, which some people consider to be “blasphemy,” could result in her being summoned by the police on 4 May and charged with violating the Koran by the Tunis public prosecutor’s office.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

May 08, 2020: The EFE-Tunisia Foundation launches the national initiative ‘’.

The Education For Employment Foundation (EFE-Tunisia) is launching a national initiative ‘’. This is in order to fight against COVID-19. It is a free online training. It is intended for all hospital, medical and paramedical staff. Thus, ‘’ is a free online training platform. It is dedicated to the management of COVID-19 patients. Indeed, this project aims at raising awareness and training of these personnel. And this, in order to protect them all and support them in their efforts to fight against COVID-19. It is the result of collaboration with the Institut des Métiers de Santé and with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

May 08, 2020: In Tunisia, 3 days elapsed on directed quarantine, future modifications of some measures, curfews and continuous reinfection warnings

3 days have elapsed since entry into the targeted quarantine and the epidemiological situation is still under control despite some violations that have been recorded, in particular on the first day of the stone, the results of which will only appear after 10 days, and while the total number of infections exceeds 1025 cases confirmed for a period of more than two months since the first registration The number of daily cases recorded is stable, and according to the statement of a member of the Corona virus control committee, Samir Abdel Mumin for ‘Maroc’ (media outlet), the latest figures recorded are the results of the last week of the global quarantine and for the results of the targeted quarantine, it will be after 5 or 10 days, indicating that there is an improvement in the application of stone prevention measures compared to the first day.

Wearing masks, physical distance, hand-washing, hygiene and people discipline are the most important mechanisms to continue to control the corona virus, according to a committee member, who stressed that implementing the procedures requires more time and effort and great perseverance than anyone else to enforce the maintenance of discipline, Expressing hope that the best results will continue to be achieved And that the results of the targeted quarantine will emerge next week, as the appearance of signs of infection with the virus occurs either after 5 days or 10 days, and in the form of continued stability with the same results currently recorded, it can be said that the country has taken another positive step, the results remain subject to behaviour and awareness For citizens.

For more information (in Arabic), please consult the following link.

May 08, 2020: Turkish medical aid for Tunisia and Libya

A Turkish plane landed at dawn on Friday at Djerba-Zarzis International Airport carrying 3 tons of medical aid destined for Tunisia and Libya, consisting of means of protection against COVID-19.

In a statement to the TAP agency, the adviser to the Minister of Health in charge of the social dossier, Houssine Azzi, said that the part of the cargo destined for Tunisia will be stored at the Central Pharmacy, to then be distributed to the various health structures. The part destined for Libya will be stored in the airport depots pending the finalization of customs procedures. It will be transported to Libya via the Ras Jedir border post, the same source states.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

May 09, 2020: Tunisian Minister of Health in an interview to “Arabi 21”: Corona could present an opportunity

Tunisian opinion polls ranked Tunisian doctor and politician Abdellatif El Makki as the country’s “most popular” figure after President Qais Said, and indicated that 51% of them trusted him. 

Al-Makki has been described in the media and by social network activists as “the general commander of the White Army”, thanks to his role as head of the Ministry of Health in implementing the war strategy against the Corona epidemic in a country whose public health system suffers from massive deficiencies.

Al-Makki, a leader of the Al-Nahda movement, was appointed last February as minister in the government of Elias Al-Fakhakh, who was his colleague in the ‘Troika’ government between 2011 and 2014 and was a coalition between secular left-wing and nationalist personalities and others from the Islamic Renaissance Party.

Abd al-Latif al-Makki was one of the historic leaders of the student and trade union movement 40 years ago, which cost him 10 years in prison. After the 2011 revolution, he assumed many national and partisan responsibilities, including chairing the National Renaissance Conference in 2012. Al-Makki also chaired the Security and Defence Committee in Parliament from 2015 to 2019.

Some call Al-Makki to play a greater national political role, while his opponents criticize his membership of the “Tunisian” Islamic trend, which he has repeatedly stated in his statements that he differs from the “political Islamic groups” and schools of the Muslim Brotherhood.

For more information (in Arabic), please consult the following link.

May 11, 2020: A day without any new COVID-19 cases

Good news. For the first time since the outbreak of the epidemic last March, no new cases of contamination have been recorded in Tunisia in the last 24 hours. In its epidemiological bulletin of this Sunday, May 10, 2020, the Ministry of Health announced that out of a total of 292 screening tests, only 10 citizens tested positive for COVID-19. These are COVID-19 patients in the process of recovery.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.