Tunisia says health care system collapsing due to rapid outbreak of COVID-19

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Tunisia’s health care system is collapsing due to the coronavirus, with intensive care departments full and doctors overburdened by a rapid outbreak of cases and deaths, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Tunisia recorded near 10,000 new coronavirus cases and 134 deaths on Wednesday, a daily record since the start of the pandemic, as concerns grow that the country will not be able to control the pandemic.

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“We are in a catastrophic situation ... the health system collapsed, we can only find a bed in hospitals with great difficulty,” ministry spokesperson Nisaf Ben Alaya said.

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“We are struggling to provide oxygen ... doctors are suffering from unprecedented fatigue,” she said, adding “the boat is sinking” and calling on all Tunisians to unite in efforts to combat the pandemic.

After successfully containing the virus in the first wave last year, Tunisia is grappling with a rise in infections. It imposed a lockdown in some cities since last week, but rejected a full national lockdown due to the economic crisis.

The total number of cases has climbed to around 465,000 and more than 15,700 deaths.

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