Tunisia re-opens

By | Category: Travel destinations

Yesterday another country joined the ever-increasing number that are opening in time for the summer holiday season.

Near the entrance of El Jem one of many heritage sites that attract visitors to Tunisia

This time it is Tunisia, a country that has undergone considerable tourist disruption over the last five years.

Museums opened yesterday but with open-air ones like the Antonine Baths and the other ones linked to Carthage, the huge Roman amphitheatre at El Jem and the forts, social distancing should not be too difficult to enforce. Others like the Bardo and the Carthage Museum will probably have some health and safety procedures in place.

Initially museums will only be open from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm during the continuing lockdown.

Shops, cafés, restaurants and mosques also reopened yesterday and inter-city travelling restarted as well. The ferries between the island tourist destination of Djerba and the mainland began operating full time yesterday as well.

Tunisiair, the national airline, has requested passengers turn up at the earliest, four hours before their flight so that social distancing (it’s the same as the UK – 2 metres) can be maintained in the queues. Flights will be closed for departure one hour before the take-off time which will be a shock to many who leave it till the last minute especially for domestic flights where the same rules apply.

When the coronavirus pandemic struck, the Tunisian government closed its borders, as did many others, to try and contain the outbreak. A curfew was also imposed and most non-essential shops were closed but the loosening began in stages eve as far back as mid-May.

Whatever the Tunisian government did either deliberately or through luck, Tunisia has seen fewer cases and deaths than many other countries with similar sized populations. The number of coronavirus confirmed cases in the country stood at 1,087 and the number of deaths attributable to the virus is 49 yesterday.

In the last 23 days, there have been just four deaths and 55 cases, I think, the last case being a person repatriated from Russia back to Tunisia and who tested positive on landing at the airport in Tunis.

To put that into some sort of perspective it means that the country has a rate of 0.42 deaths per 100,000 of population which is similar to that of New Zealand. Compare that to the UK’s 59.88 deaths per 100,000, Spain’s 58.06, Italy’s 55.6 and France’s 44.33 and you can see why Tunisia is opening up again.

As you might expect, the greatest number of cases has been in the capital, Tunis with just 90 cases and 44 cases in the tourist hot-spots of Sousse and Monastir.

It means that when we can fly again, Tunisia looks to be one of the safest destination to which Britons can holiday.

Down in the south, social distancing won’t be a problem
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