Tunis/Tunisia — In a letter addressed to the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, 40 Tunisian civil society associations called for an urgent meeting of the National Security Council to highlight the involvement of the authorities in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The signatories consider that the alarming worsening of the pandemic situation in Tunisia requires a full and credible mobilisation of state services and the entire population, to be supported by a further acceleration of the vaccination and screening drive.
According to the same source, an agreement must be reached between the two poles of the executive power who must, through their decisions and statements, reassure citizens that combating the pandemic is an absolute priority and a vital battle for the State.
The signatories stress the need to take into account the proposals of a truly independent scientific committee for the necessary decisions to be made, away from all political considerations and short-term economic calculations, and the need to allow its spokesperson to inform the public of its proposals so they can be aware of the experts’ point of view formulated on the basis of scientific data.
They also call for the implementation and rigorous application of all the gradual and targeted measures required by the evolution of the pandemic: The strict lockdown of areas and regions reported as clusters, the restriction of commercial activity and services in these affected areas to basic necessities, the closure of educational establishments (keeping schools and pre-schools open only for the children of front-line workers), the absolute ban on gatherings and travel to and from clusters, the use of alternating administrative work, remote working whenever possible, strict control of compliance with barrier gestures in public premises and transport, and the application of severe penalties for offenders.
As regards the vaccination campaign, the associations consider that it must quickly reach a reassuring pace within the framework of the most total transparency.
To this end, according to the same source, it is necessary to conduct an awareness-raising campaign against the reluctance of the population to get vaccinated and to provide all the necessary human and material resources to this end.
They also call for a review of the vaccination strategy by adapting the choices to the means and needs: Choice of vaccines, urgent increase in the number of vaccination centres and bringing them closer to the citizens, involvement of doctors and pharmacists in free practice while continuing to guarantee free vaccination.
It is also necessary to be transparent about the epidemiological situation in the regions, and with regard to the age categories and social strata of the vaccinated citizens, avoid favouritism, step up the screening campaigns to detect positive cases to be isolated and treated and evaluate the progress of the immunity acquired in one way or another.
The signatory associations are: Association History and Common Memory for Freedom, Association Amal for the Family and the Child, Association Attalaki for Freedom and Equality, Association Citizenship, Development, Cultures & Migrations of the Two Shores, Association of Civic Solidarity – Tunisia, Association of Tunisian Women for Research on Development, Association of the Right to Difference, Association Joussour of Citizenship, Tunisian Association of Cultural Action, Tunisian Association for the Defence of Individual Liberties, Tunisian Association for the Defence of University Values, Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, Tunisian Association for Reproductive Health, Association Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State, Wachm Association, Aswat Nissa, Tunis Centre for Press Freedom, Tunisian Coalition for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, Committee for the Respect of Freedoms and Human Rights in Tunisia, Forum Attajdid for progressive thought, Initiative We Exist for equality, Intersection Association for Rights and Freedoms, The Creation and Creativity Association for Development and Recruitment, The Federation of Tunisians for a Citizenship of the Two Shores, The Hassen Saadaoui Foundation for Democracy and Equality, The Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention, The Tunisian Association for the Support of Minorities, The Committee of Vigilance for Democracy in Tunisia – Belgium, Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights, Union of Tunisians for Citizen Action, No Peace Without Justice, National Observatory for the Defence of the Civilian Nature of the State, 23_10 Organisation for the Support of the Democratic Transition Process, Nachaz, Mediterranean Association for Pedagogy and Citizenship, Tunisian Association for the Fight against Violence, Manouba Association for Monuments and Culture, Association for the Edification of Citizenship Culture.