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Ahead of boarding their Emirates flight from Dubai to Tunisia on April 15th, masked passengers were given blood tests for Covid-19, with results delivered within 10 minutes. Emirates, which claims to be the first airline to perform these tests.
Key INSIGHT: Other airlines are considering different approaches: Earlier this month, Etihad, also based in the United Arab Emirates, announced that it was currently testing new kiosks in Abu Dhabi.
Security INSIGHT: The outbreak is hitting Tunisia’s tourism sector, which represents nearly 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) and is a key source of foreign currency, particularly hard.
Travel Guidelines: At the time of this writing both the U.S. and UK embassies advises against all but essential international travel.
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The coronavirus pandemic has devastatedTunisia’s tourism industry, with the vital sector expected to see 400,000 people lose their jobs this year and $1.4bn in lost revenue.
Like many countries across the globe, Tunisia has been under lockdown for weeks, with most residents only leaving their homes for exercise, grocery shopping and pharmacy runs.
Economic Challenges Ahead…
But as the second-biggest contributor to the country’s economy after agriculture, the tourism industry has almost completely shut down. Restaurants have closed, as have hotels and land borders, and international flights have been banned.
Tourist arrivals fell from over 7 million in 2010 to 5 million by 2015. But the number of visitors rose to 8.3 million in 2018, a 17 percent increase from 2017
Now, under the pandemic, that number is expected to plummet.
Tunisia has recorded a total of 747 cases of the virus and 34 coronavirus-related deaths. So far, 43 people have recovered from the infection.
Tunisia’s number of cases falls well below neighbouring Algeria, which has reported 2,160 cases and 336 deaths, highlighting the need to ban tourism in order to slow the spread, as tourists from Algeria, Russia and the EU make up a large portion of the country’s yearly visitors.
Security Bottom Line
In a report released on Wednesday, the IMF said in general, economies across the Middle East and North Africa are expected to shrink by 3.3 percent during 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time for Tunisia. Having just completed a complicated election cycle, the country was looking forward to a much needed successful tourism season.
At the time of this writing both the U.S. and UK embassies advises against all but essential international travel.
If you’re operating in Tunisiafind out how you can have access to reliable security information & support.