Tunisia extends curfew hours, reports daily record of 5,251 COVID-19 cases

A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Tunis
A man receives a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination centre in Tunis, Tunisia, April 26, 2021. Picture taken April 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jihed Abidellaoui

TUNIS, June 29 (Reuters) - The Tunisian government on Tuesday extended the hours of night curfew in an effort to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19, as the North Africa country reached a daily record of cases since the start of the pandemic last year.

The curfew will begin at 8:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 a.m. starting Thursday. The government said it will ban all gatherings until July 11.

Tunisia recorded 5,251 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the health ministry said, while 106 more deaths were reported, taking the death toll to about 15,000.

The government faces widespread criticism, amid the slow pace of its vaccination campaign and the fullness of intensive care departments, as the prime minister rejected a new lockdown, saying the country could not afford it.

An earlier lockdown last year successfully contained the coronavirus, but caused great financial pain in a country where economic woes have undermined faith in successive democratic governments.

Reporting By Tarek Amara Editing by Marguerita Choy

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