More than 7,000 Tunisians were repatriated from Libya during the last week via the Ras Jedir border crossing, said the governor of Medenine, Habib Shawat.
In a statement, Shawat added that the Tunisians returning have been subject to a mandatory quarantine, and will be allowed to leave only after they test negative for COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, thousands of Tunisians have been repatriated from Libya via the Ras Jedir, and Dehiba-Wazen border crossings. Tunisians have also been repatriated by air, from Benghazi and Misrata, as war-torn Libya is home to thousands of Tunisian migrant workers. The two neighbouring countries closed their borders in mid-March, in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.
This left many Tunisians unable to return home, as well as without a source of income, during the lockdown. With the security situation in Libya deteriorating, authorities in Tunisia are expecting more returnees in the coming months. “They have lived in a very difficult situation, and have been alone for a long time”, said Mustafa Abdel-Kabir, head of Tunisia’s Human Rights Observatory.