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Algeria allows businesses to reopen to ease coronavirus impact

A customer wearing a face mask walks near seats at an outdoor market set up by the Algerian government to prevent crowding inside supermarkets, ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Algiers, Algeria April 19, 2020. Picture taken April 19, 2020. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina/Files

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria has taken further steps to ease restrictions over the novel coronavirus by allowing several businesses to reopen “to reduce the economic and social impact of the health crisis” caused by the pandemic, the prime minister’s office said on Saturday.

It said shops to be reopened including those for materials for building and public works, appliances, fabrics, jewelry, clothing and shoes, cosmetics and perfumes, home and office furniture, pastries and hairdressers in addition to urban transport by taxi.

The government on Thursday decided to ease confinement measures by shortening the curfew for some provinces but called on citizens to be “vigilant”. That measure came hours before the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan on Friday.

Algeria has said restrictions linked to the novel coronavirus has significantly hit the economy which is under financial pressure due to a sharp fall in global oil prices.

The government has reported a total of 3,256 confirmed infections with the virus, with 419 deaths and 1,479 recoveries.

Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama