June 27 – 28, 2020 | Press Review

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

June 28, 2020: The fear of a second wave is not exaggerated

With the reopening of the borders yesterday, Saturday, June 27, 2020, Tunisia is facing a new challenge, that of avoiding a new spread of the coronavirus in our country. Inevitably, new cases will be detected, which will be evidence that our surveillance system is still operational. But the success of this challenge is not only linked to the health system; it is above all dependent on the civic responsibility of each and every one of us. For any laxity on the part of the population will be fatal. Therefore, we will have to limit the number of people at gatherings, avoid confined rooms and respect barrier gestures. The virus is still very active in many countries. It is not a question of frightening people, because I think that there will no longer be the panic caused by the COVID-19 of the first days, but above all not to produce the opposite effect which is total negligence, which is unfortunately the case at present in Tunisia. Now the virus is circulating more than ever. Today, the symbolic bar of 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths in the world by the coronavirus has been reached. The resurgence of contamination in many countries must dictate that we remain vigilant.

The United States, for example, is once again being affected in a very worrying way, particularly in the south of the country, from Florida to California, despite the fact that these are relatively hot zones. We all remember the images of bathers on the beaches of Miami on 10 June. These gatherings, whose images had then travelled around the world, are perhaps today, 15 days later, at the origin of the peak caused on June 24 with 5508 new cases in a single day in Florida. What worries me most, moreover, is the explosion of cases among young people. In Arizona, more than 8 out of 10 intensive care beds are occupied and the number of cases has increased fourfold since the start of deconfinement in this state on May 15.

A second battle is looming on the horizon for the white coats We doctors must once again mobilize, redefine the circuits, wear the mask systematically during consultations and remain vigilant at the slightest symptom that could remind us of the COVID-19. A second battle is looming on the horizon, with two seemingly opposing objectives: saving lives and reviving an economy that will not withstand further confinement. And in my opinion, a new strategy must also be put in place in terms of diagnosis, by testing as much as possible and allowing tests to be carried out by private sector laboratories. In short, the next 15 days will bring us a lot of new data on whether or not a second phase of the pandemic is possible and on its scale.

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

June 27, 2020: Two Tunisian doctors contaminated

The Regional Director of Health in Monastir Moncef Haouani said on Saturday, June 27, 2020, that two Tunisian doctors were found to be contaminated with COVID-19. Indeed, they have just returned from Equatorial Guinea and were housed at the national containment center in Skanes in the governorate of Monastir. Haouani also indicated that they are currently being cared for at the Skanes centre, which has received 420 coronavirus-infected people since it opened.

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

27 June, 2020: Tunisia, the borders are moving

Tunisia reopens its borders this Saturday and the imminence of a (near) return to normal is dragging along its doubts, its small and big stories – will the country, which has weathered the crisis rather well, be able to manage its diaspora and other travellers returning or arriving from afar? Case study, and repetition for the rest: about ten days ago, a Tunisian woman, repatriated after being stranded abroad, broke, according to the local media, the quarantine rules (which vary depending on the destination, among other things). To attend a wedding. Everything is there: pandemic, selfishness, unconsciousness, love, since her fiancé would have helped her sneak out. While she was positive at COVID-19. Dozens of people that she would have met found themselves in solitary confinement, including the agents who arrested her. Imagination works hard in these cases. We fantasize her as a psychopath capable of taking dozens of lives with her for two wiggles and three sweets. And the shortcut will soon be botched if things go wrong this summer: these outsiders, Tunisians or not, don’t respect much. In reality, the country is wading in a salty skull juice. The tourist season, which fills up crates at the dry regime, is compromised and COVID-19, as elsewhere, produces nervousness, anxiety and, in places, mobilization. In the South, Tataouine is boiling, tensed by a famished job market and broken promises.

Opacity of the authorities
Since the revolution, regions where raw materials are found have publicly denounced the opacity of the state in its commitments with foreign companies. A demonstrator on France 24: “I work in a construction site, while there is oil next to it”. Outside, Libya, which once employed hundreds of thousands of Tunisians, is a country whose internal borders are hardly defined anymore. Russians and Turks have invaded, Egypt wants to get involved. If the neighbour explodes, how will Tunisia be able to dodge the explosions?

Kaïs Saïed, the president, was in France, a few weeks after the debates in Parliament, a small fringe of which demanded an apology and reparations from the former colonial power. He returned to the country with an umpteenth promise of aid (350 million euros) and the project of a TGV line that could link the north to the south. He leaves after giving an interview to Le Monde. In theory, he is right where his young voters expected him to be, in this case the fluid facts: Tunisia has money, simply the entrenched corruption has blurred everything and given the impression of a state in continuous decay. In practice, it is more complex and unclear. A cynical mind would see it as a soft, flan-type pyramid: for decades, the country has depended for decades on promises from the outside, which make the promises made to people on the inside depend. He says: “I had advised the demonstrators to draw up plans without waiting for the state to decide for them. They did not listen to me, but I will receive them in a few days and will give them the same speech. And we’re going to put in place a regional development plan to meet their needs.” In short, to imitate him. After all, he became president without structure. By organizing himself.

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