May 11, 2020 / 8:41 PM / 13 days ago

Algeria starts coronavirus test kits production

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask uses a hand sanitizer dispenser on the street following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Algiers, Algeria March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria has started producing rapid test kits for the novel coronavirus, with a detection time of 15 minutes and a production capacity of 200,000 units per week, the government said on Monday.

The laboratory in the capital Algiers develops the test kits in partnership with Canadian and Jordanian firms, junior minister in charge of pharmaceutical production Lotfi Benbahmed said on state television, without naming the two foreign partners.

The North African country has allocated $100 million to import medical equipment and pharmaceutical products to counter the virus. It has also received medical donations from China over the past days.

The government has imposed a nationwide curfew, ordered the closure of most businesses and suspended public transport to slow the spread of the virus.

Algeria has so far reported 5,891 confirmed infections, with 507 deaths and 2,841 recoveries.

Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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