A man wearing a protective face mask, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reads Al Joumhouria Newspaper on a street in downtown Cairo (Reuters)
Egypt has slightly shortened a nighttime curfew by one hour to now run from 8 pm until 4 am instead of the previous 5 am starting Sunday, Minister of State for Information Osama Heikal announced.
Heikal made the remarks during a brief televised press conference on Thursday following a meeting of the higher committee for managing the coronavirus crisis, headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.
The curfew was first introduced in March as part of a series of measures to curtail the spread of the virus and has been extended several times since. Other measures include suspending air traffic, shuttering schools and universities, closing mosques and churches and banning public gatherings.
The committee decided to study the reopening of places of worship in July in governorates with the least number of coronavirus infections, while applying the preventive and precautionary measures, a statement by the cabinet said on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the health ministry said that the governorates that have recorded the highest rate of coronavirus infections are Cairo, Giza and Qalioubiya, while the governorates of the Red Sea, Marsa Matrouh and South Sinai recorded the lowest rates.
According to the statement, starting Sunday, shops will be allowed to operate till 6 pm instead of 5 pm, and public transportation will be allowed to operate until 8 pm.
Sports clubs and youth centres will be allowed to accept members’ subscriptions from 15 to 30 June, provided they raise the efficiency of the facilities, and perform sterilisation procedures during that period.
The government will continue to reduce the number of public sector employees in state apparatuses, and public parks and beaches will remain closed till the end of June.
The cabinet stressed that the general secondary [Thanawiya Amma] exams will take place on their prespecified dates in late June, while adhering to preventive measure.
Moreover, the cabinet announced in the statement the resumption of flights and tourism activities in the governorates with the least virus infection starting July.
The tourist governorates with the least infections are South Sinai, the Red Sea and Marsa Matrouh, and starting July they will receive flights and tourists, the statement said.
Egypt has suspended international flights to and from since 19 March at all airports nationwide except for the specially organised repatriation flights in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Egypt has so far allowed 155 hotels that secure the new hygiene certificate to reopen at a reduced occupancy so as to revive the tourism sector, which has been hit heavily by pandemic.
Such measures are part of the gradual reopening of the country to adapt with the coronavirus pandemic.