An ambulance is seen in front of the quarantine chambers at Libya's Ras Ejder border crossing with Tunisia, on Oct. 20, 2020. At Libya's Ras Ejder border crossing with Tunisia, located some 170 km west of the capital Tripoli, COVID-19 quarantine chambers have been set up in preparation for the reopening of the border. A total of eight prefabricated chambers have been set up at the border for those suspected of being infected with COVID-19. There is also a clinic with ventilators and other medical equipment. (Photo by Mohamed Arhoma/Xinhua)
TRIPOLI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- At Libya's Ras Ejder border crossing with Tunisia, located some 170 km west of the capital Tripoli, COVID-19 quarantine chambers have been set up in preparation for the reopening of the border.
A total of eight prefabricated chambers have been set up at the border for those suspected of being infected with COVID-19. There is also a clinic with ventilators and other medical equipment.
"The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has kindly provided us eight chambers with all accommodation and medical accessories," Mukhtar Al-Mansoori, director of International Health Control at the Ras Ejder border crossing, told Xinhua.
"In these rooms, COVID-19 suspected cases are housed and placed under observation. If an infection is confirmed, the traveler will be transferred to the nearest main isolation rooms or hospital. If a suspected case is confirmed negative, the traveler will be granted an exit permit from the chambers to continue the journey," he added.
Libyan authorities closed the Ras Ejder crossing border with Tunisia in March, allowing entry only for Libyan nationals wishing to return home according to strict procedures, which include medical testing and quarantine before arrival in Libya.
The border is expected to reopen in a few weeks, pending the results of meetings between the concerned authorities of both countries regarding the mechanism of testing travelers and quarantine in both countries.
"The concerned authorities must develop an alternative plan to receive travelers across the land border and reconsider the mechanism for allowing travelers to use the border crossing, so that it is not used by thousands of travelers every day which might increase the number of infections between the two countries," Al-Mansoori explained.
"In addition to the medical plan, electronic reservation can be provided through a specialized system before travelers arrive at the border. Allowing a certain number of travelers per day and determining the daily opening time ensure that no serious health overcrowding will occur," he added.
The IOM confirmed that it is expanding its support to local health partners in Libya to enhance their response capabilities, especially by supporting cross-border travel procedures and important health protocols.
According to the National Center for Disease Control of Libya, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Libya has so far reached 51,625, including 28,440 recoveries and 765 fatalities.
Libyan authorities have taken a series of precautionary measures against the pandemic since the first case was reported in March, including closing the country's borders, shutting down schools and mosques, banning public gatherings and imposing a curfew. Enditem