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Tunisia / virus: “very critical” health situation in Béja

The health situation is “very critical” in the Tunisian governorate of Béja due to an increase in Covid cases in this confined region until June 27, a local official said on Tuesday.

On Sunday, the government announced that it had decreed a new general containment in four regions – Beja north-west), Siliana, Zaghouan (north) and Kairouan (center) – where the contamination rate exceeds 0.4%.

The governorates will be confined until June 27, as hospitals struggle to treat the most serious cases in some areas of the country.

“In Béja, we recorded 600 and even 700 contaminations per 100,000 inhabitants. This puts us in a very critical situation since our health system is very fragile,” Dr Elyes Ammar, regional director of health, told AFP. in the governorate.

“We have increased our capacity of beds with oxygen to 80 beds. Almost the entire hospital (in the governorate) is converted into a Covid service,” he added.

Health Minister Faouzi Mahdi said a field hospital would be set up in the region to help other clinics and health facilities.

After the confinement, the security forces tightened control of the main entrance to Béja, where the majority of shops, administrations, businesses and markets have closed their doors, according to an AFP correspondent on the spot.

“We are out of breath since there are a lot (of nursing staff) who are on burnout (…) A lot of doctors can’t take it anymore (…)”, added Mr. Ammar.

Faced with the deterioration in the four confined regions, regional screening campaigns and isolation centers for positive cases have been set up, according to the authorities.

Tunisia, which has lifted most restrictions as the tourist season approaches, except for a nighttime curfew, currently records several dozen deaths and more than 2,000 new confirmed cases per day for 12 million d ‘inhabitants.

The country has recorded more than 385,000 cases including nearly 14,000 deaths since March 2020, according to the Ministry of Health.

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