Despite an upsurge in cases of Covid-19 contamination, the Algerian authorities announced on Monday the lifting of the obligation for travelers to self-isolate on arrival in the country.
"On the instructions of the President of the Republic (...) the obligation of five-day sanitary confinement has been lifted," said Prime Minister Aïmene Benabderrahmane in a note addressed to the government.
The note dated July 25 specifies that "travelers must present a PCR test of less than 36 hours and undergo an antigen test on arrival".
Since June 1, travelers who wished to return to Algeria had to agree to be placed in isolation on their arrival in a hotel paid for when the tickets were purchased.
This measure had triggered the ire of Algerians living abroad.
Testimonies published in the local media had reported poor reception conditions in some selected hotels.
Closing of mosques
While this decision is likely to reassure Algerians in the diaspora wishing to return to the country for the summer, it comes on the same day when a new record of infections was recorded, with 1,505 cases in 24 hours.
Faced with this third wave, the authorities severely tightened the anti-Covid measures on Sunday - notably prohibiting access to beaches - and promised to accelerate the vaccination campaign, which was delayed.
On Monday, the Ministry of Religious Affairs decided to close again the mosques in the 35 prefectures (out of 58) most affected, including Algiers, Oran, Constantine and Sétif.
The religious buildings were reopened in February after more than a year of closure.
Air borders remain open for the time being.
The majority Delta variant
Algeria, the most populous country in the Maghreb with its 44 million inhabitants, has officially recorded 163,660 cases, including 4,087 deaths.
But these figures - that of deaths in particular - do not reflect reality, according to testimonies of certain health professionals reported by the media.
The Pasteur Institute of Algeria announced Sunday on its Facebook page that "July 15, the Delta variant had supplanted all the other variants circulating until then, representing 71% of viruses in circulation".
The Institute predicts "a rate higher than 90% in the coming weeks".