Egypt extends suspension of prison visits until end of March

Ahram Online , Thursday 19 Mar 2020

Egypt's Ministry of Interior (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt's interior ministry has extended a suspension of prison visits nationwide until the end of March, a statement said on Thursday.

“The decision aims to preserve general health and to protect inmates, in light of the Egyptian government's decisions and the health ministry’s recommendations to halt large gatherings or events as a preventive measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus,” the statement read. 

The interior ministry initially halted prison visits on 10 March over coronavirus concerns. 

Egypt’s current confirmed cases number 256 as of Thursday, the health ministry has said. Seven fatalities have been recorded.

Egypt will require malls, restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs to close between the hours of 7pm and 6am, the government also announced on Thursday.

The decision will take effect immediately and run through 31 March, the cabinet said in a statement.

Over this week, Egypt has stepped up measures to combat the spread of the flu-like virus, temporarily suspending air traffic at all its airports starting Thursday and continuing until the end of the month, as well as shutting schools and universities and halting all sports events.

The country has also allocated a EGP 100 billion fund to finance a "comprehensive" government plan to stop the spread of the virus.

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