The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, general four-day lockdown starting Thursday. During these four days, the curfew will be witnessed from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. The Ministry of Health further announced the stoppage of classes for all levels until January 24, including for higher education.
The ministry likewise decreed the halt of numerous sporting and cultural events of all sorts and the ban on chairs in cafes and restaurants. Minister Faouzi Mahdi evoked that the hospital system is under pressure in many regions while calling from the private and public establishments to favour remote work as of Monday.
Without recollecting the flagrant reversal of Nisaf Ben Alaya, the spokeswoman for the ministry who asserted a few days ago that any lockdown can only worsen the health situation because of the risks connected with the proximity of people who must stay home. It should also be remarked that Tunisia is presumably the first nation in the world to observe a lockdown of only four days to eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic. A Lockdown empty of any meaning and utterly useless, ineffective but above all political par excellence.
The reasons for this lockdown are nevertheless clear: the administration is seeking to gain time while anticipating for the arrival of the vaccine which is overdue for lack of means, since we are attempting to acquire 100 million dollars (270 million dinars) from financial international institutions according to official sources, to fund the import of at least a first batch. It should also be recollected that when the rest of the world booked its share of vaccines with international laboratories in the early summer 2020, Mechichi was involved with continuous consultations to choose the members of his technocratic government.
In the meantime, the borders have opened up under pressure from the tourism lobby and never mind the vaccine and the population to be vaccinated …
The government is similarly trying to avoid the date of January 14 (the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Ben Ali regime), a deadline that the political class feard because of the chance of its conversion into a more or less generalized demonstration, particularly in the regions.
And as the unions have been deciding, for some time in the name of and rather than the authorities, the government and prime minister Hichem Mechichi await the unions’ decision to an abrupt cessation and brutal stop of work and decree a lockdown that serves the broken arms of the plethora of public service and a few trade unionists continually seeking work stoppages and days off and a free charge payment.
It appears that the government no longer pays any interest to the disaster that the economy is undergoing since the amputation of a working day will cost approximately 270 million dinars according to statistics from the Central Bank of Tunisia correlating to the calculations of values economic additions over a year of activity.
The curfew and the restriction of travel, which concerns the entire production chain, will be extremely expensive. According to experts, the shortfall is at least 100 million dinars per day. FinallyUltimately it seems that the government is contemplating its own survival even if it means slaughtering the economy and penalizing people who work. A survival which is, paradoxically, only guaranteed by a functioning economy.