Virus remedy rumor sends Tunisia garlic price soaring

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A costumer buys garlic bulbs at a central market in Tunis on March 12, 2020. The price of garlic has skyrocketed in recent days in Tunisia as consumers rush to buy it in the hope that its antimicrobial properties will help to protect against coronavirus. (AFP)
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Garlic bulbs are displayed at a central market in Tunis on March 12, 2020. The price of garlic has skyrocketed in recent days in Tunisia as consumers rush to buy it in the hope that its antimicrobial properties will help to protect against coronavirus.(AFP)
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A vendor sorts garlic bulbs at a central market in Tunis on March 12, 2020. The price of garlic has skyrocketed in recent days in Tunisia as consumers rush to buy it in the hope that its antimicrobial properties will help to protect against coronavirus. (AFP)
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Updated 12 March 2020

Virus remedy rumor sends Tunisia garlic price soaring

  • In Tunisia, the price of garlic has risen to around 20-25 dinars ($7-$8.85) a kilo

TUNIS: The price of garlic has shot up in Tunisia amid a buying rush as consumers hope it will help protect against the new coronavirus, despite caution from the World Health Organization.
In Tunisia’s central market this week, and in supermarkets and other stores, the price of garlic has risen to around 20-25 dinars ($7-$8.85) a kilo, in a country where the average monthly salary is around 600 dinars.
“Before, I used to buy five kilos (of garlic) for eight dinars a kilo and would sell it for 12, but now I can’t buy it anymore because the price has gone up so much,” said Khames Nabli, a shopkeeper in the south of the capital.
Tunisia has registered six cases of the novel coronavirus, most in people who had been in Italy. A seventh person infected with the virus has returned to France.
Garlic is often used to help ward off the flu, whose symptoms can be similar to those of COVID-19.
But some online websites and online posts have incorrectly suggested the bulb can protect against the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic.
The WHO has sought to combat rumors about the virus, including the effect of garlic.
“Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties,” the WHO website’s coronavirus “myth busters” page reads in several languages, including French and Arabic. “However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.”
That hasn’t stopped people rushing to buy it in Tunisia.
“This unjustified rush has pushed up prices,” said Yasser Ben Khalifa, a commerce ministry official, citing difficulties in obtaining supplies on the world market.
“The prices at the moment should be around 12 or 13 dinars,” he told AFP, expecting a marked drop in prices at the start of the Tunisian harvest in April.


Couple run Dubai balcony marathon to beat coronavirus blues

Updated 29 March 2020

Couple run Dubai balcony marathon to beat coronavirus blues

  • The couple covered 42.2km by running more than 2,100 laps
  • The whole distance took them 5 hours, 9 minutes and 39 seconds

DUBAI: A South African couple who ran a marathon on the balcony of their Dubai apartment, streaming it online, plan to take the project global to help people shake off the coronavirus blues.

Collin Allin, 41, and wife Hilda covered the 42.2-kilometer distance by running more than 2,100 laps of their 20-meter long balcony from dawn on Saturday.

A stopwatch provided by the couple shows they covered the distance in five hours, nine minutes and 39 seconds.

“We did it ... #balconymarathon,” Allin said on Instagram, congratulating his wife on her first ever marathon and thanking the virtual crowd that cheered them on.

“Thank you for all the love and support for doing something silly... was great to have you all along for the ride,” he said.
The couple’s 10-year-old daughter Geena acted as race director, putting up signs marking “start” and “turn around” and providing her parents with water and snacks as well as inspirational music.

Allin said he planned to organize a “bigger, global and more inclusive run next” where people who are under lockdown but keen to stretch their legs can join for a few kilometers or more.
“This is about giving people something else to think about,” Allin told AFP. “It’s about getting people to connect, as everyone is worried about the impact of coronavirus.”
The pandemic has wiped out international sporting schedules and triggered lockdowns that have limited options for outdoor exercise in many countries, but enterprising people have found ways to fit in a workout.
Elisha Nochomovitz, a 32-year-old who lives near the French city of Toulouse, ran a marathon on his balcony which measures just seven meters.
He reportedly managed the feat in six hours and 48 minutes, nearly double his best marathon finish time.