The Egyptian cabinet postponed on Thursday first-term exams in schools and universities to be held in person after the end of the mid-year vacation to mitigate against the impact of a second wave of the coronavirus.
The mid-year vacation is set for 16 January - 20 February.
The cabinet also ordered remaining classes in the first semester of the current academic take place only through an online system starting Saturday.
The decisions come as apart of the government's strategy to mitigate against the repercussions of the spread of the coronavirus, and in the interest of the health and safety of all members of the educational process, including students, faculty members, and teachers, the statement noted.
On 20 December, the ministry of education had decided to make the attendance of the students optional for the rest of the first semester while leaving schools open to receive students willing to attend.
During the cabinet meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly stressed the importance of implementing the cabinet decisions regarding the reduction of the number of employees on duty in ministries and government bodies and ensuring attendance rotation.
The decisions, Madbouly said, come in light of the complaints the government received regarding health concerns at government entities.
The prime minister also stressed the need to implement the recent decision of levying immediate fines starting Sunday on citizens and establishments that do not adhere to the coronavirus precautionary measures, adding that the cabinet will follow up with all governors to see this decision through.
Earlier this week, in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the cabinet ordered a number of measures, including the imposition of an immediate EGP 50 fine on citizens who do not wear face masks in public starting 3 January.
Cairo’s Metro Authority also announced on Wednesday collecting a similar fine from those who do not wear face masks in metro stations, also starting Sunday.
The government has banned New Year’s Eve celebrations and maintained restrictions on occupancy for hotels, restaurants and coffee shops.
Madbouly emphasised on Thursday that the government would immediately and decisively deal with any attempt to hold celebrations or gatherings on the occasion of New Year's Eve, with legal measures to be taken against violators.
Egypt, which is currently facing the second wave of the pandemic, has recently witnessed a rebound of daily infections after reporting low rates over the past months.
On Wednesday, Egypt recorded 1,411 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily record in almost five months, bringing the total number of cases to 136,644 since the emergence of the pandemic in mid-February.
According to Wagida Anwar, a member of the Supreme Committee for Viruses at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the number of coronavirus cases in Egypt is expected to reach its peak during the second wave in late January.