Tunisia detects a new strain of coronavirus different from the registered variants

Tunisian health authorities today revealed that they had detected a new strain of coronavirus different from the variants registered so far in the midst of a new rebound in the number of infections and after surpassing yesterday, Thursday, the barrier of 10,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Speaking to the local press, the Tunisian Minister of Health, Faouzi Mehdi, explained that This strain was located in the town of Manuba, near the capital, and whose samples will be sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine their nature and origin.

For his part, the Prime Minister, Hichem Mechichi, declared today that the government’s efforts are aimed at increasing the number of ICU places – with an occupancy of 80% – but that the main problem lies in the lack of specialized medical personnel. who announced an exceptional hiring plan.

“The commitment of the private health sector in this battle against the coronavirus is still below expectations,” said Mechichi shortly after receiving his first dose of the vaccine in a specialized center in the capital, and asked private clinics to get involved in the “national effort.”

The Maghreb country registered 2,200 new cases and 107 fatalities on Thursday in a peak that began at the end of March and whose official balance amounts to a total of 296,000 infections and 10,170 deaths.

Last Sunday, the Tunisian government once again tightened movement restrictions and ordered the closure of schools until April 30, in addition to imposing distance education in institutes and universities to reduce the movement of people, already restricted between provinces.

In the middle of the holy month of Ramadan, which began on April 13, Tunisians cannot travel by motor vehicles after 7:00 p.m. local time (6:00 p.m. GMT), although the curfew will remain at 10 p.m., to treat thus avoiding traditional family visits.

These measures came into force after a tough political fight between the Executive and the president of the country, who publicly assured that he understood the need to tighten the rules but urged to take into account “the social climate.” At the same time, there were calls from experts to tighten these measures while sectors such as the hospitality industry demanded to extend their hours.

The Ministry of Tourism announced the opening of the borders as of April 19 for those travelers who opt for organized trips under a “strict” sanitary protocol that consists of presenting a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before their arrival and staying in group during travel.

Days later, the president of the Vaccination Commission and director of the Pasteur Institute, Hechmi Louzir, evoked the possibility of closing the borders with Libya and France again after the appearance of the South African and Brazilian variants.

Since the vaccination campaign began on March 13, 280,000 citizens out of a total of 12 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Despite awareness campaigns, only 1.2 million people have registered on the digital platform “EVAX” to be vaccinated voluntarily and free of charge, which hinders the objective of the authorities who intend to immunize 20% of their population. population before June.