The Algerian government announced on Monday, May 18, that the use of face masks will be compulsory in public spaces as a preventative measure in preparation for the Eid al-Fitr holiday amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The order will come into effect on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, Saturday, May 23. Masks will be publicly available; however, the government temporarily authorized the production of masks intended for the general public without a commercial register to address any mask shortages. A stricter curfew between 13:00 and 07:00 (local time) will also be in effect on May 23 and Sunday, May 24.
Movement restrictions have also been extended through Friday, May 29. The extension includes the state of emergency, nationwide curfew, and closure of public spaces including schools, universities, and mosques. Overnight curfews in Algiers, Oran, Bejaia, Setif, Tizi Ouzou, Tipaza, Tlemcen, Ain Defla, and Medea run from 17:00 to 07:00 and in Blida from 14:00 to 07:00.
Some businesses were permitted to reopen on Sunday, April 26, including those supplying building materials for public works, hairdressers, jewelers, and electronics shops. Other businesses, including patisseries and clothing and shoe stores, were ordered to close again in early May, just days after the restrictions were eased, for not observing social-distancing.
All land borders remain closed and non-cargo international air and maritime travel, as well as domestic flights, remain suspended.
As of Thursday, May 21, authorities have confirmed 7542 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 568 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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