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Algeria leader urges 'discipline' as coronavirus cases rise

A worker in protective clothing cleans the streets of the capital Algiers [NurPhoto/Getty]

Date of publication: 1 April, 2020

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President Abdelmadjij Tebboune told Algerians to be 'disciplined' as coronavirus cases rose past 700.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune urged citizens to be "disciplined" in the fight against the novel coronavirus, as cases rose.

Algeria had recorded 716 cases from Covid-19 as of Wednesday, with 44 deaths, according to John Hopkins coronavirus tracker.

"You must be disciplined. We lack discipline," Tebboune said in comments shared by Reuters. "People must respect preventive measures and doctors' advice."

Algeria has taken several measures to stem the spread of the virus, such as a night curfew in ten provinces and a full lockdown in an area of the capital Algiers.

It has also implemented a closure of schools, universities and mosques which it will extend next week, Reuters reported.

But Algerians have reportedly been flouting the government measures.

Tebboune also said that the government is in a good position to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. 

"We have enough capabilities to cope with the crisis," Tebboune said.

"Regarding food, we have stocks for at least five months. There is no reason to panic."

There have been reports of food shortages in Algeria, as citizens stockpiled staple foods.

Oil producer Algeria reduced its public spending last week in the wake of a coronavirus-induced collapse in hydrocarbon prices that has destroyed revenue projections for the current year. 

Read more: Quarantined for now, Algeria's protesters vow to return

At the end of a cabinet meeting chaired by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the presidency announced the state's operating budget would be slashed by 30 per cent, without specifying the new level of spending. 

The coronavirus pandemic has also done what the Algerian regime had failed to achieve for more than a year - clear the streets of massive anti-government protests.

As the virus has swept the world, the government banned demonstrations in March. But the protesters didn't need to be told and independently suspended rallies on public health grounds.

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