Tunisia offers free helpline as lockdown sees abuse spike

Tunisia offers free helpline as lockdown sees abuse spike
This picture taken on April 1, 2020 shows a view of police vehicles standing on guard at the Avenue Habib Bourguiba Clock in the centre of the Tunisian capital Tunis amidst a lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
Updated 03 April 2020

Tunisia offers free helpline as lockdown sees abuse spike

Tunisia offers free helpline as lockdown sees abuse spike

TUNIS: Tunisia is setting up a free mental health helpline to support families following a spike in domestic abuse linked to the lockdown to curb the coronavirus, a government minister said Friday.
Asma Shiri Laabidi, the minister in charge of women’s affairs, told AFP there had been a five-fold rise in the number of domestic abuse cases reported in recent days compared with the same period last year.
More than 40 cases involving abused women were recorded between March 23 and 29, compared to just seven during the same week in 2019, the minister said.
Most were aged between 30-40 and living in remote areas of the country, she said, adding that the abuse involved verbal or physical aggression and that two women had to be hospitalized.
“Confinement has significant consequences for families. Tensions have risen and the risk of women being attacked is much higher,” Laabidi said.
From Monday, the toll-free number 1809 will go into service in the North African country and will be run by 11 volunteer psychologists, she said.
Families, including children, can reach out for help from 8:00 am until midnight and the experts will try to provide advice on how to manage stress during the lockdown.
Tunisia has been under night-time curfew since March 17 and authorities imposed stricter lockdown orders from March 22.
Originally scheduled to end on April 4, the lockdown has been extended for a further 15 days as the country tries to stem the spread of the virus, which has claimed at least 14 lives.
Another toll-free number set up by authorities in 2016 to deal with domestic violence registered more than 9,000 calls from Tunisian women reporting abuse last year, according to Dejla Ktari, who heads the department in charge of such issues.
The regular hours of that support line have also been extended to an around-the-clock service during the lockdown, the minister said.


Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew

Updated 03 December 2020

Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew

Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew
  • Mosques, schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed from Saturday in the Gaza Strip, excluding high schools and nurseries
  • Medical and political sources warned last week of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY: New measures to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Gaza Strip were announced on Thursday by the interior ministry of Hamas, which rules the Palestinian enclave.
Mosques, schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed from Saturday in the Gaza Strip, excluding high schools and nurseries, the interior ministry said in a statement.
A night-time curfew was also set to start from Saturday, lasting from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 am, while a full lockdown will be imposed on Fridays and Saturdays from December 11 through to the end of the month.
Shops and other premises must close by 6:00 p.m. and people must be home by 6:30 pm, compared to 8:00 p.m. under the previous curfew rules.
Medical and political sources warned last week of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip, saying the situation was “out of control.”
The enclave, a small, densely populated territory with two million inhabitants under an Israeli blockade, closed its borders early in the pandemic and only allowed a limited number of people to enter, requiring them to isolate for three weeks in quarantine centers.
Up until mid-August, authorities in Gaza had only recorded around 100 Covid-19 cases.
But in the past two weeks, containment of the virus has deteriorated in Gaza, with hundreds of new infections announced per day, resulting in a total of 23,023 cases and 122 deaths.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is among those who have recently been infected by the virus, the movement said Tuesday.