Egypt suspends international flights, announces new measures to prevent spread of coronavirus

Zeinab El-Gundy , Monday 16 Mar 2020

Exterior of Terminal 1 is pictured at Cairo International Airport in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt will suspend international flights to and from the country from 19 till 31 March at all airports nationwide as well as reduce the presence of public sector employees to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Monday.

"The decisions taken by the government to fight the virus have economic repercussions, but the state’s priority is to protect citizens," Madbouly said in a press conference held at the cabinet in Cairo to discuss the country’s anti-virus measures.

Madbouly also said that recent flight suspensions have resulted in financial losses for Egyptian airlines exceeding EGP 2.25 billion.

The PM added that all hotels and tourist attractions in the country will be sterilised over the next two weeks.

Madbouly said that the government is in the process of issuing a decision within hours to reduce the number of public servants at their workplaces as a precautionary measure. 

The PM also called on citizens to be responsible and not underestimate this "global crisis."

"Our main aim is to safeguard the health of Egyptian citizens," he said, urging people to stay home.

"The increase in coronavirus cases has prompted us to take these measures to limit the spread of the virus," he said, adding that "we have two weeks, may God keep Egypt safe."

The prime minister also assured citizens that there is no shortage of food supplies or goods, describing the recent increased demand for goods as “unjustified.”

"Any attempts to hoard commodities and create crises in the market will be dealt with firmly," he added.

Cairo Governor Khaled Abd El-Aal decided to ban serving shisha [hookah] in all the cafes of the capital.

In a statement on Monday, Cairo governorate warned that any café or public place that will not adhere to this decision will be shut down immediately and legal measures will be taken against it.

On Saturday, Egypt suspended study in schools and universities nationwide for 15 days and major public gatherings have been banned.

To date, Egypt has recorded 150 coronavirus cases, with three deaths.


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