"We are not immune to second wave of coronavirus outbreak," says Health Minister
29/04/2020 16:37, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)- «We are not immune to a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak," Health Minister Abdellatif El Mekki Thursday said at a press conference at La Kasbah.

The number of infections dropped owing to the efforts made by healthcare workers and the measures announced by the government as part of the national anti-COVID-19 strategy, he added.

"We have successfully contained a first wave but this is temporary as it depends on citizens' conduct and commitment in the days to come," El Mekki added. The ministry will keep on identifying suspected cases to ward off a second wave.

The ministrer said the number of infections could surge in the coming days. The national strategy helped avert over 25,000 infections and more than 1,000 deaths, he emphasised.

"We have lost a lot of time in procedures related to making face masks at a time when we could have reached the stage of export," the minister said.

The State will seek to provide protection means. Needy people will have them for free. Face masks, manufactured in line with international standards, will be made available soon in mass merchandisers, wholesalers, pharmacies….

Applications will also be developed to monitor patients as part of continuous screening campaigns.

"In addition to tests in laboratories, we opted for two rapid tests in Tunisia: antigen tests which are carried out through the nose and tests which identify antibodies in the blood," the minister said.

El Mekki said these tests will help monitor populations with high exposure and identify hotspots

"There was a preliminary investigation to identify their effectiveness and the acceptance of the investigation by citizens," he said.

"An eased lockdown is decreed in the pursuance of the same goal, that is the protection of citizens' health,» the minister said. This cannot be achieved without the commitment of citizens. The State relies on citizen awareness about social distancing in public spaces.

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