The coronavirus pandemic has plunged Tunisia into an economic crisis that has cost tens of thousands of jobs and collapsed the country’s important tourism industry.
Despite initially containing the spread of Covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic, Tunisia suffered 165,000 job losses during that period, Bechir Boujday, a member of the board of the employers’ federation UTICA, told AFP.
The figures are predicted to get worse, according to UN predictions earlier in the pandemic that warned of up to 400,000 job losses.
Middle East Eye reports that Tunisia country is now having to tackle its worst outbreak of the virus, with the government introducing a curfew on Thursday after hospitals warned they are struggling to cope.
Nearly a third of small to medium-sized businesses are “threatened with bankruptcy,” Boujday said.
Tunisia, which was already battling high unemployment before the start of the pandemic, has seen a record shrinking of its economy.
Gross domestic product fell by 21.6 percent in the second quarter of 2020, an “unprecedented contraction of economic activity,” the National Institute of Statistics said.
The key tourist industry has all but collapsed, with tourism income plunging 60 percent and large numbers of hotels likely to close permanently, officials said last month.