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Canada Covid-19: Algeria keeps its borders closed until further notice

10:40  30 june  2020
10:40  30 june  2020 Source:   france24.com

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The Algerian government has decided to keep its borders closed and notified Monday evening the local authorities to proceed to the "targeted containment" of the localities to fight against the resurgence of the cases of Covid-19.

Algeria decided, Monday, June 29, to keep its borders closed until further notice in the face of the upsurge in contaminations at Covid-19. According to the authorities, it is due to a "relaxation" of the population and non-compliance with the protection rules.

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This rebound risks having lasting consequences on the daily life of Algerians and on the socio-economic situation of the largest country in Africa.

What is the current state of the pandemic?

Algeria is in the grip of an outbreak of infection. Three weeks after the first deconfinement measures, the contamination records fall day after day (+305 Sunday).

According to the latest official report, a total of 13,571 people infected and more than 900 deaths have been recorded since the first case on February 25.

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Why this rebound in contamination?

"It is the result of a relaxation, a carelessness, in particular in certain wilayas (prefectures) such as in Blida", near Algiers, the first focus of the epidemic, told the AFP the president of the Council of the Medical Association, Mohamed Bekkat Berkani.

But the situation is not "catastrophic", judges Doctor Bekkat Berkani, who is a member of the Scientific Committee for monitoring the evolution of the pandemic. For him, the first wave is still not over.

What measures have the authorities taken?

A curfew is in place in 29 of the 48 prefectures in the country. The government advised local authorities on Monday to carry out "targeted containment of localities, communes or districts experiencing homes or + clusters + of contamination".

Wearing a mask is compulsory and offenders are sentenced to heavy fines.

Any public gathering is strictly prohibited.

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Finally, the borders remain closed until further notice.

How does the population react?

The population has not fully complied with the prevention measures. Some continue to claim that the virus is an invention of the state, especially on social networks.

Although compulsory, the wearing of a mask has not been generalized.

Wedding processions - this is the season - have been seen and demonstrations of "Hirak", the anti-regime protest movement, have resumed in the provinces, despite the ban on all public gatherings.

In the working-class districts of Algiers, where families live in crowded conditions, many are defying the curfew.

Dr. Bekkat Berkani regrets that some have resumed their habits "as before". And he criticizes the political parties "more concerned with their internal cuisine than with the sacred union to fight against the Covid-19".

What about health personnel?

"Everyone is out of breath. The doctors are at the end of their rope. The hospital structures are overwhelmed", testifies the boss of the Council of the Order, judging that "the institutions of the State were somewhere faulty ".

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What will be the human and economic impact if the rebound persists?

Many have already lost their sole source of income.

For those who worked in small trades in the informal sector and had no social security coverage, "the impact is terrible," recalls economist Mansour Kedidir: "They were in insecurity. Today, they are in extreme poverty. "

Charitable associations and neighborhood committees collect donations for the poorest across the country.

"The Algerian economy has been hit very hard but the machine has not stopped," said Mansour Kedidir.

But if many public or private companies have adapted, small businesses have lost "half their turnover".

As for Air Algérie, the national airline, it could lose 89 billion dinars (612 million euros) by the end of the year.

Can we expect the borders to be closed for several months?

The decision to keep the borders closed is "beneficial until the epidemic is brought under control," says Dr Bekkat Berkani.

"It is a protective measure which will certainly protect Algeria from imported cases. Covid-19 is a disease imported into Algeria by two immigrants from France," he recalls.

Admittedly, the closing of the borders will be felt on the economy but the State has no choice in the face of an exponential increase in cases, says the economist Mansour Kedidir.

The latter believes, however, that if there is total compliance with preventive measures, the borders could reopen in a fortnight.

With AFP

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