Egypt will reopen nurseries nationwide starting Wednesday, after three months of closure amid the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s Social Solidarity Minister Niveen El-Qabbaj said on Thursday.
This weekend will see a lifting of a number of restrictions in place since March, including the end of a nightly curfew and a reopening of restaurants, cafes, many shops, and some cultural and social venues, albeit under new hygiene and safety restrictions.
The reopening of nurseries is required as some mothers will go back to work in the coming days, El-Qabbaj told Egyptian state television.
The total number of nurseries countrywide stands at 14,000, according to the minister, but only places that are able to abide by new coronavirus precautions will be able to open.
The ministry, which is responsible for the country’s childcare centres, will announce what those precautions are on Saturday.
They will include intensifying sterilisation and disinfection measures and implementing physical distancing, according to the minister.
She noted that large-capacity nurseries have already been contacted by the ministry and told to be ready to reduce the number of children they can take care of in the upcoming period.
The ministry will inspect all operational nurseries to make sure all preventative measures are being met.
El-Qabbaj said that up to 176 other nurseries designated for challenged children will be allowed to reopen very soon.
Starting Saturday, Egypt will reopen restaurants, cafes, and sporting clubs at a maximum capacity of 25 percent, in what the government has said is the first stage of reopening.
Religious venues will be allowed to host daily prayers under certain conditions, although weekly Friday prayers at mosques will not be allowed.
International flights will resume at all Egyptian airports on Wednesday, although foreign tourists will only be allowed into three coastal governorates: South Sinai, Matrouh, and the Red Sea.
Egypt has been witnessing a steady increase in coronavirus cases, with total infections as of Thursday at 61,130 and deaths reaching 2,533.