Cultural managements

Algerian universities and cultural spaces closed as Covid surges

Algeria’s culture ministry announced that museums, cinemas, libraries and other sites would be closed to the public “until the health situation improves”.

Algeria has stepped up measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases continue to rise.

Most universities have suspended in-person instruction until early February, an Education Ministry official told state media on Wednesday.

At an emergency meeting held last week in response to escalating infections at Omicron, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said a decision to halt face-to-face teaching could be taken by management of the university, taking into account exam times and other factors.

Following this 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 that museums, cinemas, libraries and other sites would be closed to the public “until the health situation improves”.

Algeria has seen coronavirus cases rise since the start of 2021. The country’s health ministry said on Tuesday it had registered 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 to organize vaccination campaigns for employees.

Vaccination rates in Algeria remain low, with just over 13% of the population fully vaccinated, according to data from the World Health Organization.

“I urge you to get vaccinated and break the chain of infections that risk bringing our health facilities to their knees,” Health Minister Abderahmane Benbouzid told a news conference in the capital, Algiers.

“For the moment, the hospital staff manages. The question is, how long can they hold out?