TUNISIA – Tunisia is classified by France as a “red zone” country from July 16 due to the worsening COVID-19 situation, the French Embassy in Tunisia has said.

Placing Tunisia on the “red zone” list means unvaccinated Tunisians will not be able to enter France without a compelling reason, Gabriel Attal, the spokesman of the French government, was quoted as saying in a statement released by the French embassy.

A negative PCR test for COVID-19 of less than 48 hours will be required at the entrance to French territory and 10-day isolation will be mandatory on arrival, with a fine of 1,000 euros (1,178 U.S. dollars) for violators, Attal said.

These preventive measures do not only apply to Tunisia, but also all countries with deteriorating situation as result of the fast spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the statement.

France will deliver 800,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and essential health equipment to Tunisia in the coming days to support its fight against COVID-19, the statement added.

Last week, Qatar donated medical equipment in addition to a field hospital with 200 beds and 100 artificial respirators, to help combat the calamity that has befallen the country due to Covid-19.

The donation followed a national outcry from Tunisia, wherein the country reported to be overwhelmed and in the verge of a collapsing healthcare system.

Tunisia on Monday reported 4,310 new COVID-19 cases, the highest in a day,  raising the total tally in the North African country to 501,923. The death toll from the virus rose by 106 to 16,494 in Tunisia, while the total number of recoveries reached 400,378.

So far, Tunisia has reported 510,016 cases and 16,651 fatalities. The country has the highest Covid-19 mortalities in the continent and holds third position in African countries recording highest number of infections.

Four provinces of Grand Tunis (Tunis, Ariana, Ben Arous and Manouba) decided on Monday to extend the anti-coronavirus measures until July 31 in a bid to curb the pandemic’s spread.

Yesterday, Tunisian ministry of health approved use of Sinopharm vaccine in the country to bolster coronavirus vaccination drive.

Since the start of the national vaccination campaign against the coronavirus on March 13, a total of 2,156,240 people have received the vaccines, with 631,083 taking two doses, according to the latest figures published by the ministry.