Egyptian women wearing protective face masks wait to ride a bus in a staion, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Cairo REUTERS
Egypt will once again export alcohol, surgical masks, and COVID-19-related preventative supplies after having suspended the export of such supplies in order to deal with the epidemic at home.
Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea said on Wednesday that Egyptian manufacturers are now allowed to export all anti-coronavirus supplies including alcohol by-products, protective masks and suits, latex gloves, mask shields, and medical goggles.
The Egyptian government had halted the export of infection prevention gear including the surgical mask, and alcohol derivatives in March.
The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, was first detected in Egypt on 14 February, leading to a surge in the prices of facemasks and alcohol products.
As a result, Egypt increased production of all preventative gear and since July, offering 40 million cloth face masks for sale via subsidy cards at EGP 6 each.
Facemasks are believed to have the ability to slow the spread of the virus via reducing exposure to saliva, droplets, and respiratory secretions, through which the infection can be transmitted, while alcohol-based disinfectants and hand sanitisers can kill viruses and germs that may be on hands or surfaces.
Egypt made wearing facemasks in public places mandatory starting 30 May, as part of the country's plan to co-exist with the virus.
The Egyptian minister said the decision to resume exports was taken in coordination with the Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement after making sure of the availability of a sufficient stock of these products to meet the needs of the local market, Wednesday’s statement added.
Egypt aims to preserve the export markets for its products of alcohol and its derivatives, as well as medical supplies and masks, she added.
Egypt has registered a total of 101,340 infections, including 5,679 deaths and 85,745 recoveries since the first case was discovered in the country.