On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Algeria’s Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerrad announced the government’s decision to extend measures aimed at restricting movement by 15 days to regulate rising cases of the coronavirus infections.
With restrictions still in place till Friday, May 29, this is the third lockdown extension made by the Algerian authorities since the North African country registered its first confirmed COVID-19 case on February 25, 2020. Due to the rise of new coronavirus cases in Algeria on a daily basis, authorities in the country maintained the decision to lengthen the second lockdown extension which is expected to expire on Thursday, May 14.
As a precaution to end the spread of coronavirus in Algeria, the extension includes a state of emergency, nationwide curfew, and closure of public spaces including schools, universities, and mosques. Furthermore, there will be an overnight curfew in the nation’s capital Algiers and other populous states like Oran, Bejaia, Setif, Tizi Ouzon, Tipaza, Tlemcen, Ain Defla, and Medea which will run from 07:00 to 17:00 (local time), and in Blida from 07:00 to 14:00.
Similarly, all land borders remain closed while maritime travel, non-cargo international and domestic flights remain suspended. Nevertheless, the Algerian authorities early this month permitted some businesses including shops for clothing, shoes and pastries to reopen, but later issued a closure on said businesses for not observing social distancing. Commenting on the closure Djerrad stated, “some behaviour that may take us back are to be avoided.”
In recent weeks, other African nations have extended their lockdown protocols as a strategy to curb further spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, extended its lockdown measures on high-risked states such as Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, two consecutive times to deter the virus from spreading.
Additionally, South Africa which remains the most affected country in Africa to be ridiculed by the COVID-19 pandemic extended its nationwide lockdown as an effort to gauge the infection rate from surging.
As of May 12, 2020 health authorities have confirmed 6067 cases of COVID-19 in Algeria, including 515 associated fatalities and 2,841 recoveries. Although an extended lockdown will take its toll on the Algerian economy, it is however beneficial, as it gives authorities ample time to carry out mass testing and ascertain feasible ways of curbing the virus spread in the North African country.