Covid19 in Tunisia: Beyond the health crisis, a socio-economic challenge
Aware of the fragility of the country’s healthcare system and its high risk of a rapid spread of the coronavirus due to the country’s close connection with Europe, the Tunisian authorities took early measures to prevent large-scale contamination, which they would be hard-pressed to handle at the level of medical services. While the epidemic seems to remain under control so far, the socio-economic consequences of the crisis may eventually prove more damaging to Tunisia than the virus itself.
From travel restrictions and border medical control to a progressive closing down of schools and public spaces, preventive measures were gradually introduced in Tunisia in early March, as the country was watching European medical systems collapsing in the face of a sudden surge of coronavirus cases. On 20 March the Tunisian authorities eventually decided on a total lockdown, restricting people’s movements and activities to the minimum necessary to keep key sectors of the economy afloat. Criticised as rushed by some and as insufficient by others, these measures, however, seem to have kept the situation under control so far.