ALGIERS  - Algeria will reimpose travel restrictions on Friday and increase testing in a bid to stop a rise in novel coronavirus infections, the government said on Thursday.

Under the measure, citizens will be barred from traveling to and from 29 provinces including the capital, Algiers, for a week starting on Friday, the government said in a statement after a meeting chaired by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to discuss the health situation.

The authorities last month eased restrictions, shortening a curfew to 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. in those provinces and ending it in the remaining 19.

The government will also allow all state and private laboratories to conduct COVID-19 tests to help cope with a growing number of patients, the statement said.

The North African country has reported 17,708 confirmed infections and 988 deaths.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Peter Cooney) ((;))