Published on : Monday, November 16, 2020
Libyan authorities recently announced that the country has decided to reopen its border crossing with Tunisia after nearly seven months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the countries have also mentioned that besides the border reopening, flight services between the two nations has resumed after months of closure. The two countries also agreed on a health protocol against the COVID-19 pandemic, which obligates travellers to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours and sign a written pledge for a 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
Since the first case was reported in March, Libyan authorities took a series of precautionary measures against the pandemic, including closing the country’s borders, shutting down schools and mosques, banning public gatherings and imposing a curfew. Tunisia first reopened its borders back in June to allow travel from Europe during the tourist season but kept the borders closed to neighbouring Libya and Algeria.
According to a Tunisian diplomatic source, nearly 20,000 Tunisians are currently present in Libya. Several Tunisians travel to Libya for work while Libyans regularly visit Tunisia for medical treatment. Informal trade between the two countries also supports thousands of families in southern Tunisia. The COVID-19 related border closure at the end of March has a major impact on trade and tourism between the two countries. It left Libyans and Tunisians stranded on either side of the frontier.
Therefore, as border restrictions were lifted dozens of travellers already began to cross the frontier starting at midday on Saturday. Abu-Rabee Makhlouf, Security Director, Ras Ajdir Border Crossing with Tunisia said in a statement that the border has been reopened in coordination with all efforts in both countries and is now open for movement of travellers of both countries. He also called upon travellers from both countries to be totally committed to the precautionary measures of the health protocol and confirmed that all agencies will provide needed services and facilitate movement between the countries.