In Tunisia, the COVID-19 epidemic has shed light on the limits of public hospitals and the health sector in general. More than 3 months after the announcement of the first detected case, and with the borders soon to reopen, the health crisis seems, for the moment, to be under control. A look back at the figures of a crisis that has put both the authorities and the population to the test.
With international borders closed, the families of 134 Tunisians have lost the chance to repatriate their loved ones who died in France due to COVID-19-related complications. Obligated to bury them on the spot, many were unable to honor their family members’ final wishes.
"After confinement, everyone will have to wear masks," health minister Abdellatif Mekki said on April 5, contradicting what the authorities had said a few weeks prior. Masks are increasingly found in pharmacies and street stalls but were widely unavailable at the start of the epidemic. Behind the scenes, production is frequently delayed and official guidelines remain unclear.
Updated March 31, 2020. There are calls for a total lockdown, border closures, social distancing, and forced quarantine. With 423 cases declared by the end of March, the spread of the virus is accelerating slower than expected. But still, understanding the speed of spread is important, and the situation in April will depend on the effectiveness of the measures taken. The main challenge is the threat to the healthcare system, posed by the low rates of testing and the seeming impossibility of treating all the victims of this unprecedented pandemic.