Tunisia runs out of intensive care beds as COVID-19 variant spreads rapidly

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Tunisian hospitals have run out of intensive care beds amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, a member of the independent scientific committee that advises the government said on Thursday.

Amenallah Messadi told Reuters the health system had been pushed to the point of collapse by a rise in cases driven by the more infectious coronavirus variant first detected in Britain.

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The scientific committee was considering whether to recommend another border closure to avoid the spread of another variant first detected in Brazil, he added. Tunisia briefly closed its borders during the first wave of the virus.

“The situation is very critical, medical staff are exhausted, ICUs have reached their maximum capacity and deaths are on the rise,” he said.

Tunisia has recorded 291,000 coronavirus cases and about 10,000 deaths. The daily death rate which has hovered around 80 for the past two weeks reached 95 on Tuesday.

Authorities closed all schools last week until April 30 and banned people from driving cars from 7 p.m. to 5.a.m. to try and restrict movement.

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