Tunisia has recorded its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began, putting its health care system under severe stress.
This came as spokeswoman of health ministry Nissaf Ben Alaya declared Tunisia’s health care system is collapsing due to the coronavirus.
Ben Alaya also announced that intensive care departments are full and doctors overburdened by a rapid outbreak of cases and deaths.
“We are in a catastrophic situation … the health system has collapsed, we can only find a bed in hospitals with great difficulty,” health ministry spokesperson Nissaf Ben Alaya said.
“We are struggling to provide oxygen … doctors are suffering from unprecedented fatigue,” she said. “The boat is sinking.”
The country of 12 million people has suffered so far 465,000 cases and 15,735 deaths.
The Tunisian army has been deployed to enforce a new lockdown in some areas, in an attempt to stop the virus spread.
Under new rules, travel will be banned between regions, gatherings and celebrations prohibited, and a 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew imposed.
Tunisians are encouraged to leave their homes only for what is strictly necessary, government spokeswoman Hasna Ben Slimane said.
Prime Minister Hisham Mechichi had said several times in recent weeks that Tunisia is unable to afford to repeat the restrictions put in place in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, several countries promised to help Tunisia fight the coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE had pledged to send vaccinations and whatever medical equipment Tunisia needed.
Libya also pledged to send medical aid, while Kuwait, Turkey and Algeria had promised to help.
Qatar had already sent a military plane with a field hospital on board, including 200 medics and 100 respirators.