ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algeria will suspend public transport, close cafes and restaurants, tell half its state employees to stay home and order security forces to tighten the bar on public gatherings, the government said on Thursday.

The measures will come into force on Sunday, after the weekend which is marked on Friday and Saturday in Algeria.

The North African country has reported 90 cases of the coronavirus, with nine deaths, mostly in the Blida area south of the capital, though others have been reported around the country.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune earlier this week ordered an end to street protests, likely bringing to an end a year of mass demonstrations aimed at bringing down the old ruling elite.

Algeria has already locked down all commercial passenger travel with the outside world. On Thursday nearly 1,400 people returned by ship from France and they will be put straight into quarantine.

The crisis comes at a critical moment for Algeria, where looming economic problems look likely to be accelerated by the crash in oil prices, potentially halving the energy revenues on which the state budget depends.

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