Egypt starts barring unvaccinated citizens seeking public services from entering state institutions

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Dec 2021

Egypt started on Wednesday barring unvaccinated citizens seeking to receive public services from entering government institutions, almost two weeks after allowing only vaccinated state employees to enter their workplaces.

Vaccination

The step — backed by the law to combat epidemics and pandemics that allows the country’s prime minister to introduce measures to safeguard public health — comes as Egypt aims to inoculate 40 million of its 102-million population by 31 December.

The House unanimously approved the law in mid-November and President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ratified it on Monday.

Citizens seeking in-person government services are now required to present proof of vaccination detailing at least one shot administered or show a negative result of a PCR test taken no more than three days earlier.

The decision applies to all services issued by the state’s administrative offices, including ministries, local units, and public bodies.

Banks services, however, are exempt from this decision, according to previous remarks by Cabinet Spokesperson Nader Saad.

The decision has ignited debates over the past several days, including inside the House of Representatives, with a motion submitted by some MPs asking the government to reconsider.

The MPs’ concern stems from the fact that the number of vaccinated people nationwide is nowhere near the total population, and therefore, the decision will result in long delays in meeting citizens’ interests.

The government has so far administered 45.9 million vaccine doses, with 15.9 million citizens fully vaccinated and 30 million having received their first dose.

The country has so far received around 88.1 million doses from all types of coronavirus vaccines available worldwide, including Sinovac, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna.

In order to accelerate the rate of vaccination, university students and staffers have also been barred from campuses if they are not vaccinated or tested, as per the government-imposed restrictions in place since the beginning of the academic year in October.

Moreover, Egypt has recently lowered the minimum age of eligibility to receive a vaccine to 12 years of age.

The country has also authorised the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children aged 12 to 18.

Egypt — which is currently witnessing a spike in coronavirus infections and deaths propelled by the fourth wave — has registered a total of 358,578 cases, including 20,474 deaths and 297,536 recoveries since the start of the pandemic.

No cases linked to the Omicron variant have been detected in the country so far, according to the country’s officials.

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