Algeria's universities, cultural spaces shut as Covid surges
Algeria has stepped up measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases continue to surge.
Most universities have suspended in-person teaching until the beginning of February, an education ministry official told state media on Wednesday.
At a emergency meeting held last week in response to climbing Omicron infections, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said a decision to stop face-to-face teaching could be made by university management, taking exam timetables and other factors into account.
Following that meeting, schools across the country were closed for 10 days to curb the spread of the virus.
On Tuesday, the country's culture ministry announced museums, cinemas, libraries and other sites would be shut to the public "until the health situation improves".
Algeria has seen coronavirus cases surge since the beginning of 2021. The country's health ministry announced on Tuesday that it had recorded 2,521 cases in 24 hours. The country recorded its first Omicron case in December.
The government has asked major institutions including universities to encourage staff to get vaccinated, and organise vaccination drives for employees.
Vaccination rates in Algeria remain low, with just over 13 percent of the population fully vaccinated, according to World Health Organisation data.
“I urge you to get vaccinated and break the chain of infections which risk bringing our health institutions to their knees,” health minister Abderahmane Benbouzid said at a press conference in the capital, Algiers.
“For now, the hospital staff are managing. The question is, for how long can they hold on?”