A spokeswoman for the Tunisian Ministry of Health said on Thursday that the country's healthcare sector is on the verge of collapse, with intensive care units full and medical staff exhausted as the coronavirus continues to spread.
"We are witnessing a catastrophic situation," Nissaf Ben Alaya told Mosaique FM. "It requires a lot of effort to find a spare [hospital] bed… We are struggling to secure oxygen… Doctors are suffering from exhaustion to an unprecedented extent."
Tunisia recorded approximately 10,000 new coronavirus cases and 134 deaths on Wednesday. That is a daily record for the pandemic in the country, amid growing fears that it will be unable to cope. "The boat is sinking" added Ben Alaya.
After managing to contain the first coronavirus wave relatively successfully last year, the Tunisian authorities are currently facing major challenges in handling the surge of infections, at a time when a general lockdown has been imposed in some cities. The authorities are reluctant to enforce a comprehensive national lockdown due to the economic crisis.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in Tunisia now stands at around 465,000, with a death toll of 15,700.