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Tunisia lets regions impose counter-pandemic curfews

Tunisia's Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on Monday gave regional governors the power to order curfews starting from Tuesday to combat the coronavirus pandemic, his office said.

Adds PM statement clarifying earlier comments that regional governors will have power to implement lockdowns

TUNIS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Tunisia's Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on Monday gave regional governors the power to order curfews starting from Tuesday to combat the coronavirus pandemic, his office said.

His statement clarified an earlier one saying the curfew was being imposed across the country. Several regions, including the capital Tunis, have already implemented curfews in recent weeks.

Coronavirus cases have been surging in Tunisia, which had managed to contain the virus earlier in the year, and have now reached more than 40,000.

Mechichi has said Tunisia will not impose another general, nationwide lockdown, however, saying the economic cost is too high, with the economy expected to shrink by 7% this year and the fiscal deficit expected to double.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Alison Williams)

((angus.mcdowall@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: angus.mcdowall.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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