Tunis/Tunisia — President of the Republic Kais Saied, on Tuesday evening, announced the decision to impose a nationwide curfew from 6 am to 6 pm, starting March 18, in the context of the measures aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
Military armed forces and home security forces were ordered Tuesday to conduct joint patrols throughout the country, he added.
In a speech to the Nation aired on al «Al-Watania 1», Saied called on citizens to understand such a procedure, voicing conviction that Tunisians «can at the end confront this imminent danger,» because «a real and effective solution» remains in their hands.
He addressed citizens saying: «your awareness of the real situation resulting from the outbreak of this global pandemic, and your behavior in public spaces, is the guarantor in the first place in dealing with this epidemic and limiting its spread, before its final elimination.
"There is no reason for panic, but there must be mobilisation and full awareness of the conditions the country and the entire world are going through and no complacency in applying the law," the president further told Tunisians.
He noted, in the same vein, that the spread of the coronavirus epidemic started to decline in a number of countries "only with the automatic discipline of citizens and full respect for the measures taken by the public authorities.»
Tunisia can adopt other measures if necessary, but any measures will not achieve their goals, unless the Tunisians respond spontaneously to them.
The President of the Republic said Tunisia has seen throughout history, like all societies, epidemics and pandemics that have caused tens of thousands fatalities, "But today the danger is more severe, because moving from one place to another has become easy, and the spread of infection has become in turn wider and more dangerous."
«What is needed is to refrain from moving from one place to another, except in cases of extreme necessity", he pointed out, adding that period would not exceed "few days".
In his speech, Kais Saied criticised the "disregard and indifference" shown by many Tunisians regarding the risks of infection with the pandemic, stressing the Tunisian people are required today to uphold their solidarity and unity, "and to prove they are indeed capable of meeting all challenges.
"Solidarity should not be a mere slogan; it must rather be a real practice at all times," he emphasised.
In this context, he called on the legislative authority to table, in the coming days, the necessary legislation in order to show actual synergy, especially in terms of compensation for those affected by the preventive measures taken by public authorities and prevented them from working.
He suggested, in this regard, considering measures related to "debt rescheduling for those forced to suspend their business activities."
The President of the Republic stressed the need to stand with those professional groups and segments that are no longer able to move due to the preventive measures taken by the state.
"For those who are able to, it is not unreasonable to donate half of their salaries, and I will be the first to do so, so that we can guarantee that everyone will face the current circumstances unharmed,» he pointed out.