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How Tunisia's impoverished southeast remained COVID-19 free

While the isolation and lack of resources may have played a part in keeping cases of the coronavirus from appearing, they've also kept the region's economy in a state of crisis.

In Temezret, a village in the arid land of southeastern Tunisia spread across rolling hilltops, locals passing each other in the khaki stone alleyways greet each other without shaking hands. In a cafe at the summit of the mountain the village is built on, villagers sit at a distance from one another. Even at a wake service for a villager who has died, locals keep a little extra distance while joining to eat couscous.

Temezret is in southeast Tunisia, a historically marginalized region bordering Libya at the gate of the Sahara Desert. Despite the region’s impoverishment, swathes of the southeast have remained totally free of coronavirus, registering zero cases of infection. This while regional neighbors like Egypt and Algeria have been seriously impacted by the virus.

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