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Tunisia Begins Week Of Strict COVID Lockdown

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The Tunisian government has announced restrictions during the Muslim Eid celebration amid coronavirus pandemic as a preventive measure nationwide.

The country started on Sunday a week of coronavirus restrictions covering the Eid holiday, as hospitals battle to stay afloat as covid-19 cases soar. An overnight curfew is also in force. Schools have been closed since mid-April.

On Friday, prime minister Hichem Mechichi said that Tunisia was going through “the worst health crisis in its history” and that health facilities were at risk of collapse.

Tunisia, a country of almost 12 million, has officially recorded more than 319,000 coronavirus cases and 11,350 deaths.

Over 500 people are currently in intensive care, a level previously unseen in the north African country.

The country has set up field hospitals to deal with the influx of patients.

It is also struggling to meet its oxygen needs and has appealed for assistance from European countries and even neighbouring Algeria, struggling with its own health crisis.

A vaccination campaign launched in mid-march, a month later than planned, is moving more slowly than anticipated.

“The number of patients in hospitals has almost doubled in just a month,” said Amen-Allah Messadi, a doctor on the country’s COVID-19 scientific task force.

He added that oxygen consumption had “multiplied by four or six”.

Shops along Tunis’s central Habib Bourguiba avenue and in the old city were all closed on Sunday.

But videos shared on social media appeared to show almost normal activity in several other parts of the country, including people without masks and failing to respect social distancing.

The Eid al-Fitr holidays that mark the end of Ramadan are traditionally a time when Muslim families and friends gather together.

This year, the holiday is expected to begin on Thursday.

Wajdi Ben Raies explains the new approach to the crisis this time around.

“During the second wave, we instantly began importing the necessary amounts (of oxygen) from European countries and our partners in Italy and France. But, during this third wave, due to long distances, we chose to import from Algeria, which has fairly large reserves. However, we have no guarantee when it comes to the imports from Algeria, so we are trying to diversify them from many other countries.”

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Wike Blasts Buhari Over Continued Insecurity

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Wike Blasts Buhari Over Continued Insecurity

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South Africa To Investigate Deaths Of 20 Persons Found At Vacant Gold Mine

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South African police says it is investigating the deaths of 20 persons suspected to be illegal miners, whose bodies were discovered in two locations, in the gold mining town of Orkney. 14 decomposing bodies were found near a railway line on Wednesday.  Five more bodies were discovered outside an old unused mine shaft on Tuesday.

The police believes the deceased, who were found wrapped in white plastic bags, were illegal workers, commonly known as ‘Zama Zamas’.  Security agents say the deceased had severe burns on their bodies and autopsies were being done to identify the cause of death.

The South African police say the incident could be linked to a video on social media where a man was seen pleading for assistance at a mine shaft.

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South Africa Electricity Under-Performing

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South Africa Electricity Under-Performing

South Africa’s electricity company, Eskom, has continued to experience shortfalls in providing power to its consumers.  The company has had to implement rolling blackouts because of a high demand for power. The government said it will end existing red tape to deal with power blackouts.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a major shake-up in the energy sector that will allow private power companies to generate more electricity without red tape, to deal with the blackouts. The limit on the self-generation of electricity without a licence has also been lifted from 1mw to 100mw

For years, the state-owned power utility, Eskom, has struggled to meet the demand of one of Africa’s biggest economies.

Ramaphosa says the partial liberalization introduces a new era for South Africa’s troubled energy sector.

These changes will make it easier for independent power providers to generate electricity and sell it back to the grid.

Firms will still need to obtain some licenses, like a grid connection permit.

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