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Tunisia: Protests over virus quarantine conditions

Security forces disperse crowd, demonstrators called for better accommodation for patients in isolated care, witnesses say

Shaima el-Manei  | 22.04.2020 - Update : 22.04.2020
Tunisia: Protests over virus quarantine conditions file photo

TUNIS, Tunisia 

Tunisian security forces on Tuesday evening dispersed protesters calling for better quarantine conditions for coronavirus patients, witnesses said. The demonstration was held in the village of al-Qalah -- a virus hotspot -- in the southern Qibli province.

Witnesses told Anadolu Agency that the protesters were families of COVID-19 patients who demanded that their loved ones be moved to suitable places for quarantine.

Tunisian authorities have allocated university dormitories as quarantine zones for cases that don't require intensive care in a hospital.

Patients, according to witnesses, were to be moved to one of the dormitories in Sousse city. However, they were quarantined in the Higher Tourism Institute in Kantaoui, Qibli province.

This comes days after hundreds of citizens demonstrated in the capital Tunis, demanding government support to deal with the economic fallout of the virus.

Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh extended on Sunday a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the infection until May 4. He said that restrictions will be eased gradually on some economic activities.

He announced last month an $850 million package to combat the economic and social effects of the pandemic.

The North African country has so far confirmed 901 virus cases, including 38 deaths and 170 recoveries.

After originating in China last December, the virus has killed nearly 178,000 people, with total infections exceeding 2.5 million in 185 countries and regions, according to Johns Hopkins University.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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