Egyptian prime minister says rise in coronavirus cases due to overcrowded shops before Ramadan

Mohamed Soliman , Thursday 30 Apr 2020

Egypt' prime minister Mostafa Madbouly (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has said that the increase in coronavirus cases nationwide is a result of overcrowding in the period leading up to Ramadan, which began on Friday.

He said that the pre-Ramadan period saw crowding at markets and in shops, according to the government’s estimations.

Egypt saw 269 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total so far to 5,537, including 392 fatalities.

The country hit the 1,000-case mark on 4 April, and surpassed the 5,000 mark on 28 April.

The government has shortened the nighttime curfew instituted in March by one hour for Ramadan, so that it now begins at 9pm instead of 8pm.

During a video conference on Thursday, Madbouly called on governors to intensify efforts to implement the coronavirus precautionary measures during curfew times, focusing also on pre-curfew hours, which have seen crowding and caused the disease to spread, he said.

He urged governorates to coordinate with municipal security authorities in this respect.

The holy month of Ramadan typically sees a surge in shopping activity, particularly for food and drink products.

Egypt imposed a set of health measures in March after the detection of the first infection locally in February.

It has halted public gatherings, including shuttering schools, restaurants, mosques and churches.

The government has indicated that it will take steps to return to normal life after the Eid Al-Fitr religious holiday, which marks the end of the holy month.

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