Tunisia imposes 12-hour daily curfew to counter coronavirus

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia will impose a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting Wednesday with the army patrolling the streets, Tunisia’s president said on Tuesday, tightening the measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Tunisia, which has declared 24 cases of the virus, closed mosques, cafes and markets, closed its land borders and suspended international flights.

President Kais Saied, who was elected last year, also asked Tunisians to stay at home and avoid moving during daylight hours.

Tunisia is the sole relative success story of the 2011 Arab Spring, transitioning from autocracy to democracy without suffering the sort of political violence that racked the other countries that followed it in revolution.

However, it has endured years of economic trouble since its revolution, and the key tourism sector, on which it depends for nearly a 10th of its gross domestic product, will be devastated by the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh on Monday urged citizens to respect the measures the government was already taking to limit public gatherings in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.

Reporting By Tarek Amara; writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler