June 24 – 25, 2020 | Press Review

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

June 24, 2020: 4th delivery of COVID-19 equipment by France

After a third emergency delivery of personal protective equipment for the Ministry of National Defense in Tunisia, the French Embassy provided on Tuesday, June 23, heavy medical equipment for resuscitation, usable on the long term. This fourth delivery consisted of two artificial resuscitation respirators worth 20,000 euros each, infrared thermometers, FFP2 masks and several thousand pairs of protective gloves, according to a press release from the French Embassy in Tunisia. All these materials were acquired on the Tunisian market, from Tunisian suppliers, the same source said. The French defense mission is continuing its efforts to finalize the delivery of a third artificial respirator in the coming weeks. The French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, through the Directorate for Security and Defence Cooperation (DCSD), has, in the context of the health crisis, wished to maintain its support to Tunisia in its fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

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

June 24, 2020: Abdellatif Mekki: The risk of COVID-19 still exists

Tunisia-Tribune (COVID-19 risk) – Health Minister Abdellatif Mekki said Tuesday that “Unlike many countries that have suffered a second wave of Coronavirus without getting out of the first one, Tunisia is currently going through a period of respite which allows a better preparation”. On the sidelines of his participation in an event to launch the projects on “Research and Innovation-COVID-19”, Mekki expressed his “fears regarding the state of slackness that marks the citizens, who are no longer aware of the dangers of the pandemic”, calling on Tunisians to take the necessary precautions and respect the health protocol, during the next two or three months. He warned against the “laxity” observed among citizens, calling for the wearing of masks and respect for social distancing, with the aim of “achieving a success whose value will be even greater than its predecessor”, in view of the current situation and the challenges of reopening borders and resuming economic activities. Regarding the reopening of borders and preparations to welcome tourists and the Tunisian community abroad, Mekki said efforts are focused on planning, which is a difficult task at the stage of the complete opening of borders, adding that the next stage will be difficult, given the balance to be struck between the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and the imperatives of economic recovery.

He added: “This situation requires new protocols involving an exemplary commitment on the part of the authorities, tourists and returning Tunisians”. Mekki explained that all means will be used to ensure protection against the spread of the virus, including mandatory containment, self-quarantine, PCR testing, surveillance and law enforcement to punish those who do not comply with procedures, noting that these preventive measures are included in different and simple protocols and will be announced in detail at a later date. The Minister of Health reiterated his call for caution, including the wearing of masks, social distancing, and the application of various protocols that have been announced and that concern all areas of life, in the workplace and in public places.

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

June 25, 2020: Government Announces New Entry Measures for Tunisia

The Presidency of the Government announced, on Wednesday 24 June, new measures for the entry of newcomers to Tunisia, which depend on the epidemiological situation in the countries of residence, as part of the continuation of efforts to combat the spread of the Coronavirus and the preparations for the opening of land, sea and air borders, starting on Saturday 27 June this year. In a communiqué issued on Wednesday, the Presidency of the Government classified the countries into three distinct groups. The first group includes countries with low epidemic prevalence, the second includes countries with medium epidemic spread, while the third is made up of countries characterized by high spread of the virus. The Presidency of the Government has decided that travellers from the first group of countries will not be subject to specific preventive measures. While arrivals from the second group of countries where the spread of the virus is medium, they will have to present a screening test (RT-PCR), carried out before 72 hours, and not exceeding 120 hours, upon arrival in Tunisia. For travellers from these two groups of countries, (Tunisians or tourists) who wish to stay in a hotel, the presidency of the government has stressed the need to go to the hotel on board tourist buses that comply with the provisions of the Tunisian tourism health protocol, in supervised groups.

These groups will be subject to the requirements of “supervised residence” in hotels, and are called upon to respect the health protocol of Tunisian tourism. Supervised groups of tourists and residents in hotels are allowed to visit museums, monuments and archaeological tourist sites while respecting the health protocol of each site, according to the communiqué. The same source indicates that arrivals wishing to leave the supervised residence may carry out, at their own expense, an RT-PCR analysis at the request of the person concerned or at the request of the country of residence, from the sixth day of the date of entry into Tunisia. Tunisians residing abroad or foreigners from countries in the third group, who have a place of residence in Tunisia, will be required to undertake in writing to self-isolate for 14 days and to undergo another laboratory analysis if symptoms of the disease appear. The RT-PCR analysis is carried out at the request of the person concerned if he or she wishes to leave the self-isolation, at his or her own expense, and from the sixth day of entry into Tunisia.

For the third group of countries, with a high epidemic prevalence, the opening of borders will be limited to Tunisians residing in these countries, provided that they present a laboratory analysis (RT-PCR) carried out 72 hours before arrival in Tunisia, and provided that the date of carrying out the analysis does not exceed 120 hours upon arrival, with the need to observe a compulsory quarantine for a period of 7 days at the expense of the person concerned, and to submit to another laboratory analysis at the expense of the State, while undertaking to observe a self-quarantine period of a further 7 days after this analysis. The Presidency of the Government has indicated that travellers to Tunisia will be asked to fill in a health data form before leaving the airport, port or border post of the country of residence, specifying that this procedure could be carried out electronically. The National Observatory for New and Emerging Diseases will determine the epidemiological situation in the various countries that have ended the general containment period and announced the opening of their borders, on the basis of internationally agreed scientific and epidemiological criteria. This information will be published online in an updated manner on the official website of the Ministry of Health (santetunisie.rns.tn).

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

June 25, 2020: Tunisia excludes Algeria from the country risk classification list

With the reopening of its external borders scheduled for 27 June, Tunisia has decided to exclude Algeria from the COVID-19 risk classification list of countries, according to the Tunisian Observatory for New and Emerging Diseases. The green list drawn up by the Observatory includes countries such as Germany, Italy, Austria, Japan, China, Niger, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Tajikistan and Laos. On the orange list are countries such as France, Morocco, Canada, Lebanon, Spain, South Korea, Poland or Portugal. It is in this context that the Tunisian Minister of Tourism and Handicraft, Mohamed Ali Toumi, has stressed that Algeria is one of the most important tourist markets for Tunisia and that it should be given special attention, report the local media.

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