Pandemic update

Corona across the Islamic world – the toll of COVID-19

While some are beginning to protest the lockdown, others are unable to bury their loved ones in accordance with Islam. Here’s the latest from across the region

Algeria

Algeria will impose a curfew in nine more provinces to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister's office said last Friday. At the beginning of this week the government imposed a curfew in the capital and a full lockdown in the neighbouring province of Blida.

Tunisia

Several hundred Tunisians demonstrated in a working class district of the capital on 31 March, demanding government support and protesting a week-old lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately impacted the poor. "Never mind coronavirus, we're going to die anyway! Let us work!" shouted one protester.

The European Union has granted Tunisia 250 million euros in aid to help it cope with the economic and social effects of the coronavirus outbreak, EU ambassador Patrice Bergamini said on Saturday in a tweet.

Tunisia, which suffers from limited health infrastructure, is fighting to contain the outbreak after it said it had 312 confirmed cases and ten deaths. Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said last week that the government was allocating $850 million to combat the economic and social effects of the health crisis.

Libya

Five more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Libya taking the total to eight.

The National Centre for Disease Control said the new cases were in the north-western city of Misrata, held by the Government of National Accord (GNA) which is at war with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar. In chaos and without central authority since the 2011, Western-backed uprising that ousted strongman Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is poorly placed to withstand any epidemic.

Egypt

Egyptian banks have been instructed to apply temporary limits on daily withdrawals and deposits in a move seemingly designed to control inflation and hoarding during the coronavirus' spread.

The daily limit for individuals would be 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($635) and 50,000 pounds for companies, a central bank statement said, though businesses will be exempt from the withdrawal limits if the money is used to pay employees. The central bank has also limited daily ATM withdrawals and deposits to 5,000 pounds, it said in a statement.

Egypt will extend a suspension of flights for two weeks from 1 April, the minister for state information said on 31 March. Flights at Egyptian airports were suspended on 19 March and the stoppage had been due to last until the end of the month. Flights allowing tourists to return to their countries have been allowed to continue.

Egypt reported 33 new coronavirus cases and four fatalities on 29 March, bringing the total to 609 confirmed infections and 40 deaths.

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