Algeria virus cases hit daily record

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Algeria's health ministry said Friday it recorded 240 new COVID-19 cases the day before, the country's highest daily tally since the pandemic began and three weeks after easing a lockdown.

Djamel Fourar, the spokesman for the ministry's monitoring the pandemic, said Algeria has recorded a total of 12,695 cases of the respiratory illness, including 885 deaths, making it the worst-affected country in the Maghreb.

Algeria's previous daily record for confirmed infections was 199 cases recorded on April 28.

The latest statistics show an outbreak of infections in the east and southeast of the country.

"This is the result of relaxing (of social distancing measures) and a casualness in certain districts," the head of Algeria's , Mohammed Bekkat, told AFP.

Infectious diseases specialist Idir Bitam said the increase in cases is due to "a lack of civic responsibility in the population".

Outside the capital Algiers, people are not respecting social distancing guidelines after lockdown measures were lifted, Bekkat said, calling for the state to respond strongly.

Some businesses were allowed to reopen on June 7 as part of a government roadmap for a flexible and progressive return to normal.

The second phase of easing began on June 14, when limited urban transport resumed.

Faced with the surge in cases, the government has decided to maintain a curfew until June 29 in 29 of Algeria's 48 provinces, including that of Algiers.

© 2020 AFP

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