File Photo: Taxis seen jammed in Cairo traffic (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's private transportation, including taxis and ride service bookings, will be exempted from a suspension of transportation during Eid Al-Fitr holiday next week as part of a “partial lockdown” to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said in a phone call with state TV late on Sunday that the suspension of transportation will not apply to Uber and Careem services, microbuses and taxis.
Saad said the suspension of public transportation includes mass transit, buses, the Cairo metro and trains nationwide.
His statements came hours after Egypt said it will tighten coronavirus restrictions during the Eid El-Fitr religious holiday, including extending curfew hours.
The nationwide curfew will begin at 5 pm instead of the current 9 pm starting next Sunday – which is expected to be the first day of Eid – until Friday.
All shops, malls, beaches and parks will be completely shut, with public transportation suspended throughout the six-day period, which runs until 29 May.
The cabinet spokesman said in separate statements to a private satellite channel that all beaches will be closed, with the exception of beaches owned by hotels that have preventive measures in place against the virus.
The exemption only applies to hotels that have committed to an occupancy rate of 25 percent or less, Saad said, estimating that 10 hotels have so far followed the conditions put in place by the government to re-open.
Egypt’s partial lockdown comes under measures to curtail the spread of the virus during Eid Al-Fitr, which officials have said poses a risk of a surge in infections due to the large gatherings that traditionally take place during the festive occasion.
The curfew will be revised again after Eid Al-Fitr to begin at 8 pm to 6 am starting May 30 for two weeks, marking the gradual reopening of a country heavily affected by the pandemic's repercussions.
Egypt recorded 510 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, the highest daily rise since the pandemic hit the country in mid-February, bringing the total number of cases to 12,229.
Eighteen new fatalities were reported on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths to 630.