Tunisians emerge from lockdown into mosques and cafes

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Tunisians cooks sell a local version of the donut in the village of Sidi Bou Said, some 20 kilometers northeast of Tunis, on May 30, 2020, after shops reopened following a 3 month shutdown. (AFP)
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Tunisians walk in a street in the village of Sidi Bou Said, some 20 kilometers northeast of Tunis, on May 30, 2020, after shops reopened following a 3 month shutdown due to COVID-19. (AFP)
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Updated 04 June 2020

Tunisians emerge from lockdown into mosques and cafes

  • Schools will stay closed to most students until the start of the new academic year in September
  • The government still restricts social gatherings at homes and urges the wearing of masks

TUNIS: Tunisians returned to mosques and cafes on Thursday as the country ended most lockdown restrictions after largely containing the spread of the novel coronavirus for now.
Sitting with friends at the Brazil coffeeshop in the Ibn Khaldoun district of Tunis, schoolteacher Nizar Jamal said he was glad to resume his daily chats with friends.
“We are again breathing the air of life. We missed the smell of coffee a lot,” he said.
Tunisia in March closed its international borders, stopped all movement between towns and cities, shuttered mosques, shops, schools, cafes and restaurants, imposed a nightly curfew and stopped people leaving homes at day for most reasons.
It has recorded 1,048 cases of the coronavirus and 48 deaths, compared with nearly 10,000 cases in neighboring Algeria. The only recent cases came from people arriving into quarantine from abroad.
Schools will stay closed to most students until the start of the new academic year in September and the government still restricts social gatherings at homes and urges the wearing of masks. International borders will reopen fully in late June.
In another Tunis district, Menzah 9, a cafe owner who gave only his first name, Mahmoud, said he was relieved to have reopened.
“This cafe provides work for 20 families. We have suffered a lot from stopping work for three months and we hope to make up for it soon,” he said.
Tunisia’s government has announced compensation measures to help businesses and needy families with the economic effects of the lockdown and has agreed a package of financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund.


Syria’s air defenses intercept ‘hostile targets’ above Damascus countryside

Updated 25 min 33 sec ago

Syria’s air defenses intercept ‘hostile targets’ above Damascus countryside

CAIRO: Syria’s air defenses on Monday intercepted ‘hostile targets’ above Damascus’ southwestern countryside, state media reported.
No details were immediately available and there were no initial reports of damage or casualties.