Tunisians urged to stay cautious as virus cases hit zero

Tunisia on Monday urged continued vigilance against the novel coronavirus, a day after recording no new cases for the first time since March 2 as it eases strict lockdown measures.

The country’s overall toll stood at 1 032 cases on Sunday, the same as the previous day, with 45 deaths – unchanged for several days – and 700 recoveries.

But Health Minister Abdellatif Mekki urged caution despite the encouraging figure.

“It’s true that it boosts morale, but there could be a return of cases tomorrow,” he told the health committee of the North African country’s parliament.

He called on Tunisians to continue respecting hygiene and social distancing measures.

Tunisia closed its schools, places of worship and non-essential shops in mid-March, despite having recorded fewer than 20 cases of the Covid-19 illness.

It began a partial easing of the lockdown in late April, although schools will largely remain closed until September.

Hairdressers officially opened on Monday, while cafes and mosques are due to reopen on 24 May.

A broader relaxation is planned for June 14 but will depend on how the health situation develops, officials have said, warning of the risk of a second wave of infection.

But one key metric indicated that the spread of the virus was slowing down – since late April, Covid-19 patients have each been infecting an average of less than one other person.

Tunisians urged to stay cautious as virus cases hit zero