Libyans stranded in Tunisia after border closure return to their homeland

800 people Libyan nationals stranded in Tunisia after the border closure have been returned safely to their homes according to Government of National Unity

After the Government of National Unity issues a decision to temporarily close the borders with Tunisia due to the worsening epidemiological situation, hundreds of Libyans were left stranded. [Photo: MoH]
Wissam Al-Idrissi, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transportation in Libya’s Interim Government of National Unity (GNU), said that 800 stranded Libyans in Tunisia had been safely repatriated during the past two days.

Al-Idrisi stated in a press release that they had done all necessary steps to facilitate the repatriation process successfully.

The Head of the Presidential Council also directed the Chargé d’affaires and the Libyan consul-general in Tunisia to work continuously until all individuals who had been stranded could return home.

Al-Menfi also collaborated with the Head of Government, the Minister of Interior, and the Director of the Intelligence Service to provide all necessary support for the completion of the return as soon as possible, while also taking preventive measures following their return to the country.

Due to the deteriorating COVID-19 pandemic scenario in Tunisia, as well as the news of the collapse of Tunisia’s healthcare system, the Libyan government has chosen to seal its air and land borders with Tunisia for a week beginning last Friday.

In an attempt to calm the public and prevent panic, Dr Ali Al-Zanati, Minister of Health in the Government of National Unity, stated that the country’s epidemiological status is encouraging and that, in comparison to neighbouring countries, Libya is considered a safe zone.

On the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, the Minister of Health urged prudence and social distance, as well as the wearing of face masks and strict adherence to social distancing rules, in order to safeguard as many people as possible.

The Minister of Health attributed the recent significant increase in positive results from the analysis to people’s awareness and sense of the importance of conducting the tests, which were limited to travellers. He also noted that repeated testing from citizens more than once and in more than one location will result in an inaccurate spike in positives.

According to the Minister, Libya has reported more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases, with 180,484 recoveries and 3,232 fatalities since the virus’s outbreak in 2019. While this number is significant, it is still relatively small in comparison to neighbouring countries.

He also added that 437,414 people have received immunizations so far, with 905,000 people enrolled in the system, and urged those who have still to register to do so as soon as possible in order to expedite the process of protecting the entire population against the virus.

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