Coronavirus: Tunisia extends lockdown, looks to gradually ease restrictions

A woman wearing a mask walks past a closes movie theater during the coronavirus outbreak, in La Marsa outside Tunis, Tunisia. (File photo: AP)

Tunisia is extending a lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus to May 4, then it will ease restrictions gradually on some economic activities, Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said on Sunday.

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The government has said it expected Tunisia’s economy would shrink by up to 4.3 percent, the steepest drop since independence in 1956, because of the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

The North African country has confirmed 866 cases of the coronavirus and 37 people have died.

“The situation is relatively under control, but more caution is required,” Fakhfakh told state-run TV.

He added that the pace of normal life will not return quickly even after May 4. Tunisia’s vital tourism sector could lose $1.4 billion and 400,000 jobs this year, an official letter sent to the IMF and seen by Reuters showed.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54